Scriptural Social Etiquette Crosses Culture Seamlessly

Day 29, DATE

Where I live the date today is Karthik 13, 2073. So, I guess you could say I’m a time-traveler. Operating on a totally different calendar system certainly poses its challenges. Honestly, I hardly EVER know what the local date is unless I owe someone money. Even then, they usually have to remind me.

For convenience sake, the English standard calendar is used as well, but if I ask a friend what the date is, they can rarely tell me the one I’m hoping to hear. Head scratches and lots of thinking later, we usually come up with the wrong date.

I miss birthdays and special events because I’m stuck in my American ways of measuring time. It’s always on my to-do list to learn all the names of the months and hang up the calendar and actually reference it (not just let my kids take it down and color on it). It grieves me that such an important piece of their culture is totally lost on me just like so many other things.

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Proof that I try!

In culture, there are TONS of obstacles to living the Golden Rule because the people I wish to serve come from totally different backgrounds than me. They use a different calendar, celebrate different holidays, eat different food, and are offended by things I seem to just do naturally. I try to treat others the way I want to be treated and find out they don’t want to be treated like I do at all!

This isn’t totally specific to the foreign field, but it is certainly amplified here. Each person we encounter comes from a culture all their own influenced by their family dynamics, education, peers, etc. Sometimes, we will treat others the way we want to be treated and we will just fall flat. For instance, “Hey, happy birthday” (according to the English calendar) is met with “Gee, thanks, it was two weeks ago.”

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Because these kinds of things frustrate me to no end, I have to remind myself of the ways I am instructed to treat others with no clause for cultural differences.

  • And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).
  •  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (Romans 12:10).
  •  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18).
  • Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).
  • Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: (James 1:19).

You and I both know that there are MANY more Scriptures about how to live for the benefit of others and the glory of God. But it’s day 29, and I am running out of steam, friends! I hope you’ll share some below.

And if you need me, I’ll be living in the year 2073.

What cultural obstacles have you run into while living the Golden Rule?
What Scriptures speak to you about how to love others well?

Talk to me in the comment section!

Humility: My First Move in the Fight for my Marriage

Day 8, Five Minute Prompt: MOVE

I accidentally mixed up prompts 15 & 8, but in the spirit of giving myself grace and not scrapping a perfectly good post, I’m just swapping them. Anyway, I keep thinking maybe someone needs this like I do…

We are both stubborn. When the words begin to raise the temperature in the room, neither side is quick to concede to cooling it. He is better at sticking to his guns than I am. I usually forget what I wanted in the first place, but I still want to win, so I keep talking in circles.

I have met people who claim they have never had a fight with their spouse which leads me to believe one of two things:

1) They never talk

2) They have a different definition of the word “fight” than I do.

When a disagreement arises, so does an opportunity to show a tremendous level of respect for my husband. I can keep digging a deeper hole of hurt to bury him in, or I can choose humility before we go too far down our lists of grievances and end up knee-deep in regret.

I forget that we are on the same team. We fight for wholeness and happiness in our marriage, of course, but we also fight for the testimony of the work of Jesus in our lives.

Humility is so rarely my first move. Remembering the Christ that moved towards me in complete disregard of Himself, I am convinced it needs to be. I do quite enjoy being right, but I enjoy being right with my husband and portraying a right picture of the One we represent much more.

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it
(1 Peter 3:8-11).
Do you need to make humility your first move?

Let’s get a conversation about the Golden Rule in our marriages going!

 

The You of the Golden Rule

Day 6, Five Minute Prompt: YOU

 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:11-12).

The Golden Rule is not about you.

It’s not about me.

It’s about God and his goodness.

It’s about how the gate is wide and the way is narrow and what our lives say to those who haven’t been captivated by the Love that calls us down it (v 13-14). In our efforts to be like Jesus, we depend completely on His grace to bear fruit which makes His presence in us known (v. 16-20).

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Karma says “do good so good will be done unto me” while grace says “You can’t repay me, but I will serve you anyway.”

Grace looked at us in all our filthiness and died to make us its own. That redemptive act moves us to say, “I will lay down my life for the least of these because I know Whom I serve.” We serve the Almighty God who put on flesh and died a criminal’s death so we could fall in love with Him.

It’s about Our Father who gives us good things.

Proclaiming His name in our families and among the nations is the best gift we’ve been given after salvation.  I want to live as a servant sharing Christ and helping a few more people find the narrow road. I’ll sing and serve my way to golden gates.

What does God’s grace move you to do?

Talk to me in the comment section!

Defusing the Time-Bomb of an Overstuffed Heart

Day 3, Five Minute Prompt: WARDROBE

I live in a country where closets are not the norm. I count my blessings that my children will not be able to terrorize each other by jumping out and screaming like my brother used to do. In lieu of closets, we have giant eye-sore wardrobes.

My wardrobe contains anything from imported candies to hand-crafted wrapping paper but mainly holds my clothes. I’ve tried adding baskets for storage, but it is a mess despite my best efforts. My husband has all but given up trying to put any clean laundry away for fear of what will fly out when he opens the door.

This is so often the condition of my heart: overstuffed with burdens I haven’t dealt with or put in their proper place (those nail-scarred hands). An explosion of hurts and words blows upon those nearest to me.

I would want someone to prevent me getting my face ripped off, if possible, right?

Living the Golden Rule means getting down to the nitty-gritty with God and dealing with it all before anyone is close enough to be affected by the bomb blast. Some days, it will detonate, and there is clean-up for such messes. But, for now, regular maintenance sounds like a good plan.

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How do you see the condition of your heart affecting those around you?
Do you need to do some maintenance with God?

Talk to me in the comment section!

 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee (Psalm 51:10-13).