There are all different types of people in the Bay Area, but I have been somewhat introduced to a great diversity of people in the Tenderloin community. I have been learning about the importance of seeing life from other perspectives. If I only understand my values and only some others, how would I be able to judge my own values? I have found it very important to understand other people’s viewpoints about life. It can be dangerous to be close-minded, because it prevents you from understanding other people’s way of thinking. The more close-minded you are, the more likely you are to be judgmental. On the other hand, I have found out that when you are open minded to other ideas, you are able to understand why people think the way they do. There is always something that makes us think a certain way or have certain values. If ten people were to look at a detailed picture of something, all of them would have slightly different explanation of what they saw. In relation to our world, people are raised differently with different cultures, values, backgrounds and experiences that build their way of thinking about the world. I have had conversations with people in the Tenderloin community about religion, wars, corruption, prostitution and more. I heard things I did not know before and it introduced me to things I was not familiar with. If I did not take the time to talk to those people, I would not have been familiar with the ideas they introduced to or at least not at that particular time.
People can tell you a certain belief is wrong or this and that, but I feel that it is important to see it for yourself. It is important to talk to people of that belief and do your own research instead of following others without really thinking about their ideas. We must try to see life from other people’s point of view and be in their shoes before forming our own ideas and stereotypes. I end with this verse, which sums it all, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24). As God does not care about outer appearance but the heart, we must also not look at the covering but the inside and the truth.