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You know that feeling, the sudden sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? The instantaneous fear that hits you when enter a room and realise – you’re the odd one out. This might have happened when you got the dress code completely wrong for an event. For example, you walk into your friend’s party wearing smart casual, but it turns out you misheard her – she actually said, “Wear all pastel!” It’s too late to turn back and now you’re surrounded by a room full of people dressed up in soft, gentle hues for your friend’s themed birthday party. There you are in harsh, dark denim and a striking red top. I do believe the term is ‘standing out like a sore thumb.’
Dress codes aside, feeling like the odd one out can be an isolating experience. Perhaps there has been a time when your race, gender, sexuality or religion has led people to treat you differently from how they treated others. We live in a world were society sets a ‘norm’ despite the fact we are all part of an incredibly diverse planet and human race. So, when we fit outside the societal norm, we don’t know how people are going respond to our differences and how they will treat us.
We can be inspired to respond to this with encouragement from the Bible. In Galatians 3:28 it says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This shows that there are no exclusions in the eyes of God. We can all receive his love, we are all welcome – there are no odd ones out. We can also be encouraged with how we treat others. In the story Jesus tells of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), societal norms are broken down, as we learn there should be no cultural boundaries when we consider who we should lend a helping hand. We learn that when we are aiming to love our neighbour, that does not just mean our friend, or people who are similar to us, but our neighbour includes everyone. This is a value we strive to live by at All We Can.
All We Can’s values are inspired by Christian principles. One of our values is inclusion. We give priority to those who are the poorest, most marginalised and disadvantaged people. We work with people in need without discrimination. There are no requirements for those who we work with and for at All We Can, we are inspired to love and reach out to everyone, just as Jesus calls us to.
As part of a year-long internship with the One Programme, Zoe Carruthers is working for All We Can as its Communications Officer. Zoe studied International Development and Media at the University of East Anglia and is passionate about social justice and womens' rights. Zoe is from Northern Ireland and is keen for others to discover what a beautiful place it is.