Culture is a driving force in our lives. Where you are in life influences the way you relate to others – and to God.
Don’t kill the cow
There’s no denying it – our surroundings affect everything about us. Humans are relational creatures – we adapt and connect with others to survive. Our culture defines everything about us from a worldly perspective – from the food we eat, to the way we spend our time, to the people we socialize with, and the people we avoid. Christians, however, are in a unique position – we need to be counter-cultural while maintaining relevance to our surroundings, and we are called to interrupt the social paradigm while still maintaining relationships with those around us.
This can make life difficult, but, then again, we’re not called to live lives of simplicity and ease, nor should we expect to do so. Jesus Himself said “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” [, ESV] If we are living truly counter-culturally, we are going to make waves, we are going to disrupt the norm, and we are going to affect people’s lives.
But we should not be destructive. We have to respect people, and their culture. It would be inappropriate to go into a foreign country and do everything that they would consider insulting on account of being ‘counter-cultural,’ and we should look to the way we are in our own home environment as if we are entering another country! Christians do not belong to this world. We are aliens. We are, by the very definition of what we claim to believe, counter-cultural. If your brother is in sin – reproach him () and be open to reproach yourself! Remember the speck and the plank ()! In India, cattle is considered sacred. The Hindu religion sees cows as almost a maternal figure in their lives – they won’t slaughter one for food and nourishment! But just as you would not go to India and force the Hindu people to kill and eat their cows, do not force your beliefs on unbelievers – instead, let them see the holiness of Christ in you and let the Truth speak through you.
It’s good to be different. Be an oddly Godly ambassador of Christ. Raise questions as to why you are who you are.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (ESV)
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (ESV)
3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (ESV)