The past month has been a whirl. From waving farewell to Fiji and entering back into life in American, to packing up for college and saying “goodbye” to my friends and family, to jumping into a whole new life at college. It has been crazy and exhausting at times, but it has been so rewarding.
I have had the chance to make connections with many different people, enjoying cross-cultural friendships of many kinds. What I’ve found is that wherever I go, there will always be new cultures: Everyone does life a little differently. And although it can be difficult to jump from culture to culture, it has been so growing and so valuable.
Jesus engaged in cross-cultural relationships. He hung out with fishermen, ate with tax-collectors, debated with the Pharisees, healed the sick, and spoke with Roman rulers. In every instance, He treated others with respect, showing them value and worth, and recognizing everything they had to offer.
It has been fascinating to observe the different ways others do life. But I’ve also found it challenging at times, to be immersed in cultures that are slightly different from mine. It’s hard to not fit the mold perfectly.
Yet I am encouraged by a woman named Mary, whose story can be found in Luke 7:44-47. She came to Jesus and was so bold as to step outside the laws of the culture by washing His feet with expensive perfume. Those with Jesus scoffed at her. But Jesus knew her heart. He knew what she did was different, but that it was beautiful.
I want to be like Mary, who chose to serve Jesus with meekness, even when the culture around her rejected her. If the culture around us is not aligned with Jesus’ example, let us not conform (Rom. 12:2). Let us embrace the attitude of Christ by serving others in humility. Let us recognize that we’re all uniquely different, but all of us are equally treasured by God. So wherever I go, I want to see the beauty in how God has made us all different.