I had never fully appreciated nor understood the importance of knowing about cultural differences until our mission trip to Thailand years ago. There were so many things to learn and I naively thought that I was prepared for it all. However, our sweet guide carefully and patiently helped us through each of the traditions and customs that we needed to understand so that our time would be as free from difficulties as possible. Without her help we would have encountered and even created problems that would have hindered what we were hoping to accomplish while we were there.
Once while exchanging currency, a coin slipped from my grip as I was counting out the odd looking money in my hand. As it rolled across the floor, I ran after it trying to stop it by stomping on it with my foot. Our little Thai guide immediately stopped me and then stooping to the pavement she collected the coin. She quietly pointed to the image of the King on the face of the coin. I did not understand the significance and urgency of her actions until we arrived back at our host home. She carefully explained that Thai people (most are Buddhists) believe that the feet are the dirtiest part of the human body and that the head is the highest place of honor. With that in mind, if you put your foot on money you are essentially showing extreme disrespect to the King by stepping on the image of his head. This was an offense punishable by law at the time.
-This is an excerpt from a recent article I wrote for the Women’s Bible Cafe. To see more please click here: The Women’s Bible Cafe
Unless we endeavor to understand the complete context in which the Bible was written, we will fail to grasp the true meaning of what the Lord is trying to say to us through it~