Lately I have had some really good conversations with some of my friends here over some challenges that Christians face every day but seem to be exaggerated when faced with cultural differences. Things that may seem strange or inappropriate to us sometimes seem the cultural norm here. Then what is your position to be? Are you to stand far away from this or try to learn and accept this? Do you say something or let it be?
As a woman who is always trying to follow Christ I realize that sometimes my actions will set me apart, they will bring attention, not only to myself but to the actions of others and this can come at a cost. I realize this and know that is what I signed up for when I chose Christ and his love, but being a follower of Christ is not always so black and white as we would like it. Things seem grey, especially across cultural lines. One area things seem grey is when to say something, when to step away completely or weather just being an observer is ok. These are so hard for us to know in today’s world, I wish it weren’t so but it is. I wish I could say easily this and that but I can’t. There are obvious commandments such as do not steal, lie, murder ect. There is also when Jesus talked about causing others to sin (Luke 17:1) but how are you supposed to know that? for example lust, yes you dress modestly but what is considered modest? So you don’t dance provocatively but what is considered provocative? Everyone has different definitions and standards on that so how is a Christian to navigate these waters? Especially when language is limited and cultural understanding is only just beneath the surface.
Another thing that we have talked is how to approach the poor. Here there are so many poor, beggars, and cripples that we pass everyday. Now we have been told not to give money to them, it could be dangerous, a lot of them are faking, they will spend it on drugs. But here is a question; who would really fake being so poor they would need to beg? So they are faking that they are crippled, are they faking the fact that they are starving? Am I really allowed to judge what they might spend the money on? Does that make a difference? What would Jesus do? He calls us to take care of the poor, the widowed and the orphans and demographics show that these are the people most often out on the street starving. How are we supposed to react? One time a friend and I were talking and decided that even if Jesus did give them money, he wouldn’t just give them a sole, he would give them everything he had in his pocket because he would know that he would be ok. Do we have that same confidence?
I know that often I do not have that confidence, the confidence to continue to give without making sure I still have enough to do what I WANT to do. But I can take heart, 2 Corinthians :5-10. And I pray that one day I will be able to hear my Lord say to me, well done good and faithful servant (Ephesians 1: 15-18).
sorry to those who thought this was really long, which it is, I just hoped it would reach someone with similar thoughts.