Why you should never be afraid of people from different cultures
We're all human, after all!
Are you a little afraid around people from other countries? If so you might be xenophobic.
Xenophobia — what is it? It’s a strong fear of people from other cultures or societies. Do you have it? You may say no at first and I hope it’s true. But let’s examine the idea for a moment.
The Bible says that in the time of the Tower of Babel the people were one and they spoke one language. However, when they tried to exalt themselves, they were scattered abroad the earth. Moving to different parts of the earth meant getting used to a new environment, food, and of course forming new languages. Unfortunately, living in separate spaces caused a distance that turned into distrust of outside groups.
Sometimes I wonder if people think that because the builders of the Tower of Babel were separated, that means that modern societies should do the same. But how can we? We started this journey called life together as one. God put us together in union with each other. So, despite our looks, culture, food, religion and language we must consider the original plan of God for us to live in unity.
As someone who has spent much time with people from all faiths, including those with none, I can say that all those people are searching for something. Foreigners may say hello in another language, eat different food, wear uncommon clothes, but at heart they have the same basic needs as you do. The questions of life, the search for identity and our meaning and purpose are matters that all humans are plagued with. This is good though because this is a connection point. We can bond over what matters most in life, respectfully discuss our ideas and show love to our neighbours.
In regards to fear, often times the person whom you fear, may also have a fear of you. God says that he has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind. That means if you are afraid to interact with a foreigner tell yourself that this fear is not from God. Think about it. The more we avoid foreigners, the less we know about them. The less we know about them, the more we are afraid of them. It’s a never-ending cycle. I mean silly things like hearing someone speak another language in your presence and you assume they are talking about you. That’s that spirit of fear trying to create a problem where there usually is none.
We are all his creation
In the end, we are all God’s creation. Christians are specially chosen to be known by the love we show to others. This is why it’s so important to get fear out of your heart because if fear is in our heart then we won’t have room for love. We must choose which we want to spend our time doing. So live your life, be an example, share the Gospel to those who will receive it and grow as a believer. Let us shine our light and don’t be afraid of the dark. There are strangers waiting in the dark for you to bring the light.
Let go of fear
Step outside your comfort zone for a bit and try something new from another culture. Maybe it’s a new Peruvian restaurant, Korean karaoke lounge, or Persian grocery store – either way you will learn more about your culture when you do this. It’s true! I’ve been around many international people and each time I learn something about their culture it makes me pause and think about my own. It’s sad to say but some people may actually think that the division of people groups should remain that way. That foreigners should stick to their own corner of the world. Sometimes people will confuse the actions of the government with the wishes of the people. Don’t assume that because a particular government does something that all citizens in that country support it.
People all over the world are waiting to hear this gospel and message of truth. So take a leap and introduce yourself to someone from another culture and love them with the same love you show your family. Try to think of all the countries of a world as a bouquet of flowers. In the bouquet, there are many kinds of flowers and they all look beautiful.