Romans 1:14 – For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world, to the educated and uneducated alike. (NLT)
I belong to a writers group, and each month, we meet for a time of prayer, fellowship, and encouragement for one another with our writing. We have a schedule for the year, and each month, we are asked to bring an item we have written, to share with one another.
Recently, the topic was "culture shock". We were to write about an experience of going from one culture to another.
My first thought was that I didn't have anything to share; I have never been on a mission trip. I would have to pass when it came time to share. Then, the Lord began to speak and to show me that going to another part of the world was not the only way to experience culture shock. I only had to go across town and step into an elevator, where I found myself with two youth who had piercings on their noses, tongues, and lips. Well out of my comfort zone, I found myself having a conversation that went beyond the usual "Hi, nice day, are you having a good summer?" We chatted in the elevator as we travelled to our floor. We all got off on the same floor, and yes, you guessed it! We all found ourselves in the same appointment room with more time to continue our conversation. It is not so important what we talked about, but more that I would step out of my comfort zone and enter into a youth culture which I had not grown up with. Even having two boys of my own had not taken me into the age of piercing the body.
How easy it is to turn our heads away or to look down so as not to be drawn into eye contact or a conversation with others who live right in our own communities and have a different culture than ours.
Mark 2:16-17 – When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw [Jesus] eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (NIV)
Jesus didn't turn away. He found time for everyone who crossed His path. As for me, I have realized from this experience, as I am living in His image, that I, too, need to be more accepting and willing to step out of my comfort zone.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we are sorry for the times when we have turned away from others. Help us, Lord, to live in Your image, in all that we do and say, to all whom You send across our paths. Lord, infuse us with a boldness that takes us out into the world as Your hands and feet. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.