Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What do I see? (Nov 11)

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, what ever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is useful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4: 29

These are the two verses that are on the wall in my room (in lots of colors, thanks to all the colored Sharpies that Dave’s mom sent in her box!). They are a timely reminder to me right now. Sometimes it’s easy to get frustrated when I see the state of things and thing what’s wrong with this people? Why do they do this? Why don’t they do that? In America That’s the big one that’s been getting me lately. I keep comparing things to America. I keep thinking that if we can do it like this there, what’s wrong with these people here or what’s wrong with this country that they can’t get it right here? But I know that while there are certain cultural things that are hurting people, there is so much more that is out of their control. The school system is not very good. It’s expensive and the kids never learn to think. Finding a job is very difficult – nearly impossible. AIDS is killing people left and right. People have very little land to farm on. You spend half the day looking for firewood, water, food, etc. You spend the other half waiting for things to start (not quite, but almost!).

Sometimes I just get frustrated. It’s easy when you’re in another culture just to see the bad things. Hence the Bible verses. They remind me to look for what is good. I know that people everywhere are made in God’s image, but that we live in a fallen world. We are not the people we were created to be. So in every culture, there are things that are beautiful and good, and that are reflect God’s image and goodness. But there are also things that are broken and that need to be redeemed. Sometimes I see the good. But sometimes I get frustrated and just see the brokenness. It’s especially easy to see the brokenness when I am tired and missing home and the goodness of home is the brokenness of here. At times like that, it’s easy to forget that the goodness of here is the brokenness of home. So this is my reminder to focus on what is good, to focus on what is right. The second is like it. Sometimes when I see the brokenness, it is really hard to keep my mouth shut and not go on about how America is like this or that. I know that some things I need to speak, to critique, to give suggestions and ideas so that we can learn together. But there is a very fine line between what is useful and what is harmful. Some times I can walk that line. But when I’m frustrated, I think I’m more like a drunk person walking a tightrope. So at times like that I just need to keep my mouth shut.

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