January 16, 2017

Culturally Bilingual

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 16, 2017

While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. Acts 10:27-28

In a recent three hour meeting with a small group of African American leaders, my friend Dr. Crawford Loritts challenged all of us around the table to become culturally bilingual. He went on to explain—similar to becoming fluent in a foreign language, by God’s grace and with a lot of effort, we can grow fluent in the ways of people different than ourselves. When we embrace a diverse race we respectfully want to learn what makes them feel loved and respected. We desire to understand the context of their culture so we can learn to engage their world as a true friend.

Through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Peter found himself in the home of a God-fearing Roman soldier with a house full of Gentile (non-Jewish) friends and acquaintances. Peter’s religious racism was put to the test because in Christ, the Lord had proclaimed the equality of all people regardless of their cultural origin. The distinctive of Jesus followers is their inclusiveness, the foot of the cross is level for all tribes and nations—all born sinners in need of the only Savior and mediator between God and man—Jesus Christ. Peter, shattered religious protocol by being present with those different from himself.

“God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:8-9).

So, what does it look like for us to be culturally bilingual? We start with our heart—we ask the Holy Spirit to initiate us in the ways of loving, humble inclusivity—not rigid, proud exclusivity. We confess the sin of apathy toward ignoring, even harboring a condescending attitude toward cultures different than ours. Racial reconciliation is the outcome of hearts broken and mended together on the anvil of Almighty God’s grace, forgiveness and justice. When we all bend our knees together before the Lord, we stand up together united in the Lord. Races who pray and play together—grow together, laugh together, work together and worship together!

Pray today a simple prayer, “Lord Jesus, who, different from me—can I initiate time with, so I can really get to know them: know their fears, know their joys and know their dreams.” And by really getting to know them, how can I serve them in a way that makes them feel honored as God’s precious image bearer? Racial healing grows into radical friendships with an intentional investment of time, money and prayer. Racism is slavery of the soul, while unity in Christ liberates the soul. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection”. Start today to become culturally bilingual!

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:9-10).



Heavenly Father, move me out of my comfort zone and give me persistent love to pursue those different than me.


Whom can I meet with twice a month for the next four months to become educated in their culture?

Related Reading

1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 2:16, 4:16; Colossians 3:15; Revelation 5:9

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When we all bend our knees together before the Lord, we stand up together united in the Lord. #WisdomHunters #culturallybilingual

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