I could eat blueberries by the handful. In fact, that is my preferred method. Sure, I could get Tracie to make a pie, or I could mix up a tasty batch of blue lemonade. But why? I enjoy them just as much by themselves, and it’s far less work for everyone involved. And less waiting for me.
And when I say “handful,” I’m serious. They last longer, of course, if you eat them one by one. But all blueberries are not created equal. Some are a touch overripe; some equally underripe. Neither of these edges of the spectrum are entirely satisfying. But when I eat four or five at a time, the extra tart and extra sweet elements get mixed together, creating an experience far richer than anything produced by any single berry, however perfect it might be.
I take my Christians the same way. Some are a bit more or a bit less to my personal taste. And I have come to actually prefer it that way. I need varieties of judgment, experience and expertise. It broadens the experience. I see my brethren as not just individuals, but also a part of a whole. I love my brethren for who they are instead of trying to turn them into versions of myself (Romans 14:1). The body is better because of the differences among the members.
It’s more challenging that way, of course — and sometimes more frustrating. But love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Some berries are actually rotten, of course. Those need to be culled instead of absorbed. But that’s an analogy for another time.