He went from a heavenly culture to a broken one.
He went from encompassing light and life, to sin and death; everywhere. Jesus went to a new ‘country’ but He never made people feel weird about theirs. He made people feel valued and called them higher; to be their fullest selves.
Jesus showed us the way to true life.
When Jesus entered our human culture, He brought that culture of heaven to earth. This culture of heaven deeply transforms humanity.
Jesus’ culture redeems our broken one. Jesus’ culture of heaven — of love, light, truth; the Kingdom of God…it’s this culture that’s changed the world.
So how do we change the brokenness in the world? How did Jesus do this? It’s a very simple yet deep answer. Jesus…loved. Go on and check out the classic John 3:16 verse.
Jesus’ love is the catalyst that transforms the world and redeems all of its cultures.
Jesus’ love is the catalyst that transforms the world and redeems all of its cultures. This kind of love is what we are all called to as Jesus’ followers.
The culture of redeeming love is part of your destiny. This is part of who you are called to be.
How do we love this way? How do we gain a heart for the whole world, regardless of differences? How do we gain a heart for cultures and people groups not our own?
Let’s start by placing you in the story.
You go to a new country, city or home. You notice things are a bit different. Maybe the people speak a foreign language. Maybe the city is bigger, dirtier or nosier than you’re used to.
Maybe the home you’re visiting smells funny or the decorations aren’t to your liking. It’s a bit uncomfortable. It’s a bit weird.
These feelings usually arise when we experience new cultures.
When your culture collides with another, it causes an initial friction. I once heard a leader say, ‘If something seems weird to you, it’s because it’s offending your culture’.
I once heard a leader say, ‘If something seems weird to you, it’s because it’s offending your culture’.
That’s pretty profound.
Read that again, ‘if something seems weird to you, it’s because it’s offending your culture’. Your culture refers to the collection of your (and your society’s) ideas, customs and social behaviors. You create a culture around you wherever you go.
So you, too, can create a culture of confidence, openness and hospitality, or one that can look like insecurity, hiddenness and distance.
When we think things are weird, strange or uncomfortable, it’s usually because they are new and not normal to our culture. The strangeness shows us that things are different and out of our control.
The way to find the treasure is by taking culture collisions as opportunities to learn.
The collision of cultures also reveals other ways to live. There is actually a treasure hidden in these collisions. The way to find the treasure is by taking culture collisions as opportunities to learn.
In these crucial moments, we have an important choice to make. This choice can lead you straight to the treasure, if you choose wisely.
Your choice is to open up or to close off.
Wouldn’t it be nice to fully be yourself, and be met with an open heart, even if that person is totally different than you?
We can choose to stay open and learn from different people, or we can close our hearts towards them.
If you find something or someone ‘weird’, I challenge you to stop and ask yourself, ‘what can I learn from this? How can I keep my heart open instead of closed?’.
A closed heart can sometimes look like a cold attitude, superficial kindness, judgement, gossip or rudeness.
An open heart can look like one that learns, loves, stays humble, listens, patiently observes, surrenders and aims for connection rather than agreement.
This open heart comes from the culture of heaven. It looks like the way of Jesus.
We are called to ‘be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God’ (Ephesians 5:1-2).
The way of love is the way of Jesus.
Here are some tools to keep your heart open, especially towards people and people groups not your own:
Pray for the people you don’t understand. I can guarantee that if your heart is open to God and you pray for them, you will receive His heart for and perspective on them.
Asking God for His heart for the people and places that are different than you will change your heart in a beautiful way.
Choose something to be grateful for in regards to that person, place or situation.
Appropriate eye contact and smiling can bridge many gaps.
Singing and worshiping together can build bonds deeper than most conversations can.
Keep an attitude of a learner. Find something to learn about them or their background.
Research their culture, if possible.
Don’t worry, it takes time.
Find a way to serve and bless that person or people group in a way that makes them feel loved and honored. Research and observation may help you in this area.
Find a way to invite them over for a meal and/or conversation. How can you make them feel at home?
These tools bring the culture of heaven to earth. When it comes to loving people groups not our own, Jesus is our ultimate example and strength.
He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
He leads us into this kind of love, so if you want to experience life to the fullest, entrust your life to Him and ask Him to show you His love.
This love changes the world. This love will give you a heart for all tribes, tongues and nations.
Let’s do this!