Certainly it is easier to associate with those that look and think like us. There is a comfort level
in sharing common experiences within a familiar culture. However, it requires a greater level of maturity to accept those who are different. For instance, it may take more effort to interact with those who come from a different country of origin and whose first language may not be English.
For example, I have friends who are non-Christian, vegetarian and of Chinese ancestry. It is more challenging to speak at length because English is a second language for them and I do not know how
to speak their language. However, I feel fully accepted by them. Indeed, they are a very loving and courteous group. We have many differences but enjoy one another’s company. I am happy simply to chat with them over a cup of green tea. We have also shared meals. They exude joy towards
one another and welcome me into their circle! They may be the newcomers but they are sometimes more open and welcoming, then those who resent refugees and other immigrants coming to Canada.
I am Canadian born and yet I am the stranger that is welcomed into their midst. They came, like my father,
to find employment and better educational opportunities for their children.
The Good Samaritan in the gospels wishes to assist anyone, not just those who practice the same faith. Once, when I was studying to be a teacher in Toronto I saw a man lying on the ground who appeared inebriated. Someone said he may be drunk or on drugs and to ignore him; however, I called the authorities to see if he could receive some help. I acted correctly on this occasion although I know other times I have failed to be a good neighbour. These are times I ask God to forgive me for not loving others.
Hence, try to welcome everyone whether they be rich or poor, gay or straight, obese or skinny, man or woman and any other category you can think of. Our goal in this life is to love one another. The more you can love, the happier you will be. As you know, with our built-in prejudices or at least strong preferences, this is not easy. It involves suspending our ego and being fully present to the other. Meditation certainly helps us detach from the false self so that God’s love may flow through us out to others. Finally then, make an effort to reach out to those different in every way much like Jesus did on
his mission on earth. Consequently, you will no doubt grow in compassion and hence become a better person.