Love is not rude. This is a tough one to talk about because none of us are rude. Not a single one of us and so to write hypothetically about something like this is simply difficult as I don’t have any tangible experience or examples. But since we’ve already covered that love isn’t boastful or arrogant, let’s get off our high horses and take a look at this.
America is a melting pot. As such, I have relatives from another country and growing up there was something I had to learn. I knew from a very young age, these people would literally give you the shirt off their back (it almost happened more than once) along with other gifts that they couldn’t afford, but it was their way of showing they loved me (it’s still their way). What I didn’t understand was that at some point, I had to give in. I had to allow them the pleasure of giving. To Not do so was merely rude and disrespectful. Now, you who’ve interacted with other cultures either at home or abroad, have you had a similar situation or a situation where you could see something like this happening even completely unintentionally?
Americans know best. This is a universal fact. Every good US citizen is fully aware of this as we assert our language and culture all over the world. Friends, this is merely ignorance. There are a few things we’ve gotten right in this country, but we are far from ideal, let alone perfect. Our customs, methods of thinking, worship, translation of the Bible are not the best, nor are they the only out there. To even pretend so is unloving. To force any of these on another is just as unloving.
Ignorance is not an excuse. No, it is a prison. Understanding is the only way we will be able to love others the way they ought to be. The path to understanding is two-fold, but I’ll warn you it doesn’t happen magically or overnight. First of all, it requires us to seek out information on other cultures. Yes, there is some head knowledge that needs to be acquired in this process. Consider this the research phase. This lays the groundwork where we can understand the fundamentals of other cultures. Then, we need to interact face to face with these cultures. That’s right, we need to once again get up off our lazy butts and actively look for ways to go out of ours (gasp!) so that we can meet other people where they are. Then, we can build on top of the foundation and understand how to love individuals within the given framework of their culture. Friends, is this not what Jesus did? Granted, He is omniscient and can skip step one, but like the woman at the well, He sought to understand her and found a way to love her best. We’re still talking about that encounter today.
Rudeness is merely an impression. It does not take into account intention, but rather effect. Therefore, we cannot claim ignorance as our alibi. It is old and worn and hasn’t functioned since the Crusades (yes, we just went there). Our own country is a melting pot of different cultures, thought, etc. so to learn how to love even our own neighbors, let alone people in other countries, we have to cast aside our preconceptions of haughtiness. There is nothing about us that is better than anyone else. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can begin to fill that void with knowledge of other cultures and appreciate them on the grander scale. Once we understand customs and general societal issues, we have the framework to begin to love people individually from that given culture. We see the beauty in them that God sees every day. We become the Gospel, but only when we realize love is not rude.