God’s Global Marketplace
Today’s world has become a global village with ‘multitudes of people from different races, tribes, languages, etc’ needing to work together in teams to achieve common objectives and deliver shared vision. Some organisational development experts say that one of the most valuable skills required for success in the corporate world is cultural intelligence (the capability to relate and work effectively across cultures). This is relevant across all spheres of society – in churches, ministry, businesses, government, educational institutions and even in our social lives.
The reality is that we also live in a world where the levels of cross-cultural relational barriers are higher than ever (and seem to grow daily). The ‘5 Goliaths’ of prejudice, bigotry, bias, perception and assumption are constantly taunting us – drawing us into divisive behaviour with those people who are different to us. These have become such big barriers to relational breakthrough (especially with regards to attitudes between entire people groups) that it’s important that we define what each of these words mean for clarity sake.
- Prejudice – preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
- Bigotry – intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself.
- Bias – inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair.
- Perception – the way that you think about it or the impression you have of it.
- Assumption – a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.
The Conflict Culprit
Interestingly the behaviour that comes from these ‘5’ is based on our feelings being driven by thoughts that are birthed in a lie (which we believe to be true). Without discovering the source of the lie and replacing it with the truth it becomes impossible to change the thought, and hence the feeling and the resulting behaviour. Understanding how our brain works and how our memory storage banks have been conditioned through our experiences (and even through our family bloodline lineage) plays a critical role in the breaking of these relational barriers.
The journey towards cross-cultural relational breakthrough is one that requires self-evaluation and selfless humility and love to step out of our comfort zones in the pursuit to better understand the people who are different to us, to hear their stories, and to look beyond what we might see as their unacceptable behaviour so that we can understand the source of their pain and fears.
As believers of Jesus Christ we have the privilege of being exposed to a culture that is superior to every other culture known to man – it is a culture founded on the selfless love that Jesus taught so extensively about and then demonstrated in the most remarkable way by going to the Cross and dying for every human being from every race, tribe, language, etc. He gave us a culture that is higher than American, African or European culture – it’s a culture that is higher than any church denominational culture – it’s a culture that is higher than Republican or Democrat political culture – it’s a culture that transcends any racial culture. Jesus commands us to lay down our lives (lay down our personal agenda – lay down our man-made culture) so that we can take up the Kingdom culture. If we obey Him in this regard He elevates us into the amazing position of being His friends where He reveals all things to us and gives us the privilege to be channels that produce much lasting fruit.
When we embrace this Kingdom Culture we will accelerate our levels of team and organisational performance as new levels of confidence and trust are achieved. In business this means our sales, productivity, efficiencies and profitability will go through the roof. In our churches we will attract those who are seeking the true nature and heart of God and send them out as transformational discipliers who will turn cities and nations upside down.
John 15:9-17. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Patrick Kuwana (Johannesburg, South Africa) is a Certified Trainer with Transformational Leadership. He is also the Founder of Crossover Transformation. He is passionate about Value Co-Creation, Cultural Intelligence, Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development, sustainable economies, and wealth creation. Patrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Transformational Leadership helps you identify, address and remove personal, team and process constraints. Removing these constraints allows transformation to occur and encourages healthy, trusting relationships to grow.
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