Dare To Be Different
On the team’s journey to the isolated little village where we would be working in Ghana, we stopped to stock up on supplies in the nearest big city. As we drove away from a supermarket several members of the team witnessed an incident in which a teenage boy was knocked to the floor by some older boys who threatened to kick him. Previous to this the boy had been acting peculiarly, brandishing a stick at some younger boys around him, and had given us the impression that he may have been mentally ill. Nobody on the team intervened to find out the full story or to help the boy. When later discussed by the team it seemed that what had stopped us from intervening had not been a sense that the boy had brought it on himself or a fear for our own safety in the situation. Rather it was an acceptance that we were in a different culture, where things that may be unacceptable in the UK may be perfectly normal, that seemed to be the overriding reason why we didn’t intervene.
Although it is certainly wise and advisable to become acquainted with differences in culture when working abroad, we as Christians must also recognise the Christian culture inside us in the way that we interact with others. It can be extremely difficult to stand up and be counted for doing what is right when it goes against the culture that you find yourself in. Of course this can be equally true of the home environment at university, in the hospital or at home with family, as it can be in some far-flung country.
The way in which we relate to or interact with people cannot be determined by what people around us are doing but rather it must be determined by looking at what God would have us do.
During my time in Ghana one big question came up in a few difficult situations - what would Jesus do? The WWJD craze has, of course, become very popular amongst young Christians today. We have wristbands, badges and who knows what else displayed on people, in an attempt to remind them to consider how to live their lives in a way honouring to God. Unfortunately, however, all too often little attention is paid to such reminders once the novelty has worn off (I speak from experience).
If we are serious as Christians about wanting to honour God in our actions, then we need to start with God and seeking His desire. Much more than simply asking ourselves ‘What would Jesus do?’, we need to study Jesus’ life as found in the Bible and view Him as a role model - the perfect example of how to live our lives as a living sacrifice to God. God has revealed Himself to us both in Christ and in His word, the Bible. What an awesome privilege this is. In studying the Bible we receive guidance on how to live our lives and we must not allow popular culture to supercede this, whether that be in the UK or anywhere else in God’s world.
Luke 10: 25 - 37; Daniel 1; Romans 6