Over the years I have offended and beaten up others with my nationalistic pride. I have also taken a beating due to the nationalistic pride of others.
One day I was reading in Genesis 11: 1-9 about the Tower of Babel (emphasis mine).
Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words…
…They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city,
and a tower whose top will reach into heaven,
and let us make for ourselves a name,
otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built…
…”Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language,
so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”
So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth;
and they stopped building the city.
Therefore its name was called Babel,
because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth;
and from there the LORD scattered them abroad
over the face of the whole earth.
Through these verses, God made it clear to me that nationalistic pride is not something He ever had in mind or initially desired for us as a part of His incredible creativity. He originally had us all speaking the same language. The divisions we have in our world today in language and culture are a result of our sin and God’s protection against further sin. God intended for us to be scattered over the whole earth, not just building our own city and a name for ourselves.
As Christians, I believe our goal should be to overcome the barriers of language and culture in order to demonstrate the power of God’s love in us and bring His Good News to as many people as possible… all over the world. When Christians struggle to communicate love and respect to each other – despite language barriers – we are a picture of how God communicates with us… even though our human limitations get in the way.
When we yield our own prejudice, bias and selfishness
to allow people of other cultures
to work side by side with – and even lead over – us,
we reflect God’s original design.
As a missionary, I have worked side by side with people of many cultures and languages. I have worked under leaders from many different countries. It can be frustrating and difficult and more time consuming… but also joyful and fulfilling, and I truly believe that I better reflect God’s unity in diversity… and accomplish more for His Kingdom in partnership. I don’t want to experience more of God’s discipline because of my pride; I want to do all that I can to speak “one language” with all other Christians, demonstrating God’s Kingdom perspective, rather than worldly nationalistic arrogance.
As a receiving nation, we can also reflect God’s design by generously inviting and respectfully accepting those from other countries who are called by God to work together with us in extending His Kingdom.
As leaders, we can be an example… How can we help each other to limit our pride and work better together for His glory?