There was a tribe in a very remote part of the world who had never seen a helicopter. A missionary was living with the tribe. One day a helicopter flew not far above the village where the tribe was. The villagers were terrified thinking that it was some sort of dragon. The next day the helicopter came past again, lower this time, and a coke bottle fell out of the helicopter on the edge of the village. The locals presumed that it was an egg and kept away in fear, wondering if this ‘dragon egg’ was going to hatch.
The missionary called a meeting of the whole tribe. When they were assembled, he invited them to come with him to see this ‘egg’. With the whole village following him he walked straight up to the bottle, picked it up and said to the villagers. “Nothing to be afraid of here he said, it is not an egg…..” Before he could finish saying what he was saying, the people fled from him in fear believing that he was some sort of ‘demon’.
In another village the same thing happened!! There was a second missionary. This time he waited for the villagers to invite him to go with them to look at this ‘egg’. When they got close, they looked at it and then ran away in fear. Every few hours they came back to have another look. The missionary encouraged them to get a bit closer every time but ran away with them when they ran away. Eventually they got close enough and he was able to reassure them and explain what the bottle was, and even what the helicopter was!
Empathy and walking with people are so important if we are able to support each other in facing the challenges of life.
We are complex people; we are not just a brain with plain facts. We have emotions and carry memories and cultural complexities.
Respecting cultural differences between different groups; respecting the diverse personal histories of others is so important if we are to live together in harmony with others.
As Christians we need to be leaders in this type of respect for each other as human beings.
With the way news is so quickly decimated in society by social media we need to develop a cautious attitude about jumping to conclusions or making sweeping statements.
So much harm has, at times, been done by those who profess a rigid, moral rectitude, or law and order rectitude, and do not try to understand what is really happening in others. What follows so often is harsh judgements, divisions and certainly not the vision that Jesus had.
It was precisely those who acted this way that gave Jesus a hard time.
“Dear God, give me the wisdom to neither be naive and gullible, nor harsh and simplistic judge”.
God Bless you today.
Bishop of Darwin