And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability… everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers (Act 2:4-6 NLT).
One of my former lecturers who taught us ‘Context and Missions’ once told of a time he went to France for a seminar. Being British, you can imagine how upset he was when rather than quickly make their way to their seat with as little interruption as possible, someone that came very late went around greeting and shaking everybody. My lecturer was furious because to a British man, that was seen as very disrespectful; as if it’s not bad enough that you came late. However, he later found out that the French would have found it very disrespectful if after coming late, one just ignored everyone and went to seat down. What cultural difference?
Where am I going with this? Who defines whose culture takes precedence? Recently, I’ve been learning counselling and one of the first things they teach you how to do is to listen. What this means is that regardless of how many million words someone throws at you, you are able to capture and play back the key words that keep coming up. It happened that recently, someone was led to contact me and they sure know how to do talk. However, one of the things I kept hearing was that “I’m different” which was visually obvious but for them to keep saying it meant they were definitely struggling to be heard and accepted which apparently is something they’ve struggled with all their lives.
After our time was up, I told them we can continue next time but they were really surprised. “You mean you still want to talk to me?” “Off course, I still want to talk to you”.
I was left thinking how dare anyone make someone feel so rejected. Unfortunately, this is something we unconsciously do to people. We impose and expect people to be like us and when they don’t, we criticise or alienate them. However, as spirit-filled believers, if there’s one thing the Holy Spirit should enable us do is speak other people’s languages (and I don’t mean literally).
Also, the Bible says… we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses… (Hebrew 4:15 AMP). The reason Jesus is able to understand us is because… though He was God… He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being (Philippians 2:6-7 NLT).
Jesus humbly became like us to understand us. You need the same humility to understand others… Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had (Philippians 2:4-5 NLT)
It’s called being kingdom-minded.