Overcoming Relational Barriers
“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’... The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he’”—John 4:7, 25-26.
Jesus was thirsty for water, but He was also thirsty for this woman to learn of Him--God’s living water. He dismissed the barriers of cultural bias and went right to her heart. Though women of His day were treated with contempt, Jesus related to her with compassion. In spite of the prevalent racial prejudice of the times, He listened intently to her ideas about God. Yes, overcoming relational barriers starts by being respectful to the person with opposing ideas.
There are built-in cultural divides when diverse people come together to communicate. Family traditions, religious beliefs, regional pride, racial judgments, social status and preconceived notions are a few. However, the unconditional acceptance and love of Christ cuts through cultural clutter and creates a clear path of communication and understanding. We create trust when we seek to understand the other person’s paradigms and we are humbly bold about our own beliefs.
“Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin” (Romans 3:9).
The entire human race began from the same place; all sinners in need of a Savior. No one people group is superior, but all are subject to the one and only King Jesus. So, it’s with caring concern we approach individuals different in origin and opinion. Outside of Christ, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. In Christ, we are all sinners saved by grace. Thus, we prayerfully seek common ground with assorted nationalities. The gospel of Jesus Christ assimilates diverse backgrounds.
Therefore, where is the Lord calling you to build relational bridges? A neighbor not native to your area or a professional acquaintance who professes not to know God? Humans hunger for answers to life. God has placed in everyone’s heart a thirst for Himself. We who are refreshed by Christ’s living water are called to educate thirsty souls in how they can be satisfied. So, be creative and use every day experiences to engage spiritual conversation. Explain how your once parched heart has been hydrated by the living water of Jesus. Yes, Christ overcomes relational barriers!
“God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all” (Acts 10:34-36).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me be intentional to understand other cultures with the goal of sharing the good news of Jesus.
Related Readings: 2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49; Romans 9:24, 10:12; Ephesians 2:14
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