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.
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.”
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!