If we isolate ourselves from people whom we view negatively, we may reinforce our prejudices. And if we limit our friends to people who are like us, we may tend to think that our way is the only acceptable way of thinking, feeling, and acting.
“Open your hearts wide.”—2 CORINTHIANS 6:13.
What does it mean? Our “heart” can refer to our emotions and affections. If we have affection only for people who are similar to us, our heart becomes closed or cramped. To avoid that problem, we must be willing to befriend those who are different from us.
How Expanding Our Circle of Friends Helps
When we get to know others personally, we begin to understand why they do things differently. And as we grow closer to them, we start to see them as part of our own group. We come to value them more, and their joys and sorrows become our own.
Consider the example of Nazaré. She once felt prejudice toward immigrants. She explains what helped her: “I spent time with them and worked with them. I met people who were the complete opposite of what the rest of the community was saying they were. Once you befriend people from a different culture, you learn not to stereotype them, and you grow to love them and value them as individuals.”
What You Can Do
Find opportunities to speak with people who are from a country, ethnicity, or language group different from yours. You could
Ask them to tell you a little about themselves.
Invite them to join you for a meal.
Listen to their stories, and find out what is important to them.
If you try to understand how their experiences have shaped their personality, you may develop a positive attitude toward people from their group.