Have you ever been annoyed at some aspect of your culture being trampled over by another invading culture, or been incensed by your cultural norms being eroded away and replaced by other cultural systems?
For example, have you ever been annoyed that someone is talking loudly in public, inconsiderately, and in another language? Then thought, ‘How rude!’
Have you ever thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be good to have taxi drivers who can speak English and at least know how to navigate the place they are paid to drive in?’
Ever noticed that you no longer are part of the crowd but are becoming the one who stands out? It is you who is swiftly and fearfully being swept into a minority group? Ever thought whilst walking through the shopping center or driving through a particular suburb, “spot the Aussie!’
For many this is their reality.
Now I must confess to you, and to my absolute shame, the culture I was brought up in was simply selfish and intolerant.
Tolerance for aboriginals, nil.
Tolerance for Japanese, nil.
Asians, Chinese, Arabians, Egyptians etc., Nil.
Basically, anyone with skin that was not white was beneath me and were considered scum and not worthy to breath the same air as me. Beat them up and make their life a misery was just fine…and justifiable as they were considered only insignificant low-lifes. I was immersed in this through the adults in my world and by my peers.
The primary driver behind this was fear.
Fear that I would be robbed of a precious lifestyle. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Fear.
Fear ruled. Intolerance the defense. Bigotry the result.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18,19
Then at age 25, God stepped into my life. His Love for me was overwhelming… and I realised I didn’t deserve it. And yet He forgave me of all.
…that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
His Love transformed me from being a racial prejudice hypocrite to one who could love anyone… especially those who I previously had contempt for. I am overwhelmed by that Love.
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts those from every nation who fear him and do what is right…
This was my enlightenment too.
I’m so glad God didn’t show favouritism, accepted me and has forgiven me. Now it’s my turn to spread the Good News to all men, regardless of race, colour of their skin, etc. How privileged am I.
Now, do I still get upset with cultural erosion? Yes, sometimes. But it is no longer driven by fear but by values or principles. Godly values and principles.
Judgement is okay…BUT, it must be tempered with mercy. Mercy comes from understanding. I no longer attack the person but address the value or principle. I always attempt to understand the person first. Then ask the question, ‘does the issue causing upset undermine or destroy a godly principle or value?’
- If it does not, then I need to address MY perception. The Bible helps a lot in this situation. Prayer is good too!
- If it does, then what can I do to directly address this? My fallback position if I can not do something specific or directly, is to pray and commit it to God… and leave it in His hands.
Either way, no more ulcers. No more anger. No more fear.
Hey, life is too short for unpleasantries.
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10ff (MKJV)
We were designed to live life and to live it abundantly.
Finally, I will leave you with what the Word of God says:
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:8-13 (emphasis mine)