By Hasmik Babayan
Hasmik is a member of the international facilitation team for SVM2 and currently lives among the unreached.
Let us begin with the following story:
Indescribable Son of the one and only God-
What is impossible for me is easy for you.
What is beyond my reach was put there by you.
What is inaccessible for me is close to you.
What is hidden from me in my fallen state
is within view for your beatitude.
What is impossible for me is done by you.
What is incalculable for me is already tallied by you, who are beyond telling.
What is despair for me is consoling for you.
What is incurable for me is harmless for you
What is sighing for me is rejoicing for you.
What is heavy for me is light for you.
What effaces me is written for your power.
What is lost for me is conquered for you.
What is inexpressible for me is comprehensible for you.
What is gloom for me is radiance for you.
What is infinite for me you hold in the palm of your blessed hand.
What is somber for me is refreshing for you.
What sets me to flight, you withstand.
What holds me in check, you handily turn back.
What is fatal for me is nothing before your
almighty essence. (Narek)
And the story continues….
Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” (The Message)
As Isaiah indicates, the difference between God and us is huge. The way He thinks isn’t the way we think. The way He sees isn’t the way we see. The way He reasons isn’t the way we reason. The way he teaches his children isn’t exactly the way we teach our children. The way He sees us isn’t exactly the way we see ourselves. In short, the way God views the world isn’t the way we do!
How much does it take for a human being to see the world from God’s perspective, an eternal perspective? How much does it cost the human being to develop an ‘eternal vision’ that is in tune with God’s vision? The kind of vision that is able to see the temporary through eternal.
The price to enter God’s reality is equal to the price that God paid in order to enter our reality, the incarnation into human flesh. He emptied himself of divinity, and yet never stopped being divine. He left his divine culture in order to live in human culture.
Although emptied of divinity, He never forgot the divine purpose. He allowed close friendship with the Father and yet kept His boundaries. He respected the human culture and yet criticized the injustice, corruption and lie (Luke 11:37-54, 12:49-56). This principle of approaching the different culture let us call the incarnation principle.
In Luke 20:25 we read, “Then give Caesar what is his and give God what is his.” (The Message)
In order to incarnate into the new culture justly and lovingly, we need to adapt and adopt the incarnation and the Caesar principles. We should give the culture (proper respect) what is due to culture and give God what belongs to Him (holiness, justice and etc.).
From Human to Human Culture
Who we are very much depends on where we were born, in what country, in what historical context, in what family, etc. Generally people grow up with particular a particular religious background, in particular peace or war situations, in particular poor or wealthy countries.
Consequently, as people grow, they face lots of challenges and changes, blessings and curses, hurts and loss, healing and pain, and love and hate. As a result, people develop their unique understanding of life, death, and God. Therefore, when a message bearer desires to serve and share God’s love with people of different cultures, he should be careful to first understand the people and their culture.
In Isaiah 5:20 we read, “Doom to you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness in place of light and light in place of darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
The message bearer should be careful not to confuse between evil and good or sweet and bitter in a foreign country. In other words, like the incarnated God, the message bearer should have a very close relationship with the Father in order to fulfill the task entrusted to him by the Father.