One of the things I’ve really come to enjoy most about my job is hearing from all the readers who write to us each month.

We made the Inbox section a standing feature of the magazine five years ago because not only is interaction something consumers demand in this era of social media, but we actually want to build relationship with our subscribers—and relationship simply isn’t possible without respectful two-way conversation. Not all those letters or emails get published, but nearly all of them receive responses, provided the sender has signed his or her name.

We realize our perspectives on various topics will differ at times—perhaps even sharply so—but there’s plenty of room under our tent for disagreement on non-essential doctrines. Here at Focus on the Family, we call that “healthy conflict,” because we realize occasional disagreements are an inherent part of every relationship; it’s how you work through them that makes or breaks you.

To that end, I’d like to address a difference in perspective you may already be thinking about: This month’s cover of Citizen sports, for the first time in our 30-year history, a heavily tattooed woman.

Her name is Amor Sierra, and you’ll find out a lot more about her starting on page 12. Her life story probably isn’t anything like yours, and the people she reaches through her work and her ministry may not resemble your next-door neighbors. But God is using her in amazing ways—and it’s beautiful.

The Bible refers to the Body of Christ as exactly that—one body, made up of different parts that don’t all serve the same function, but which are animated by the same Spirit. I love that!

The Word also describes us as “living stones” that are being fitted together to build a habitation for the Lord in our time. In stonework, each rock is selected for the place in the wall where it best fits (though sometimes rough edges do need to be sanded off).

This is inherently different from the concept of brick-laying, in which each item comes out of the same mold with a uniform size, shape and color. There’s nothing particularly special about bricks; they’re designed to be interchangeable. And that’s simply not how God designed us, His poemas, His artwork—His masterpieces.

We can be unified without being uniform. We can be diverse without being divided. God made each one of us like prisms to refract His light in unique ways that no one else on earth can do—and it takes all seven billion of us on the planet doing that to show the world what He’s like.

What an amazing gift. Vive le difference!

Originally published in the August 2017 issue of Citizen magazine.