Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cultural Struggle or Just Plain Sin?

Tonight I'm struggling with how to react to a situation that has arisen. Maybe "react" isn't the right I said I'm struggling. Stuggling with what to think, what to feel, and how to act. I come from an American Christian Culture, or more precisely a Southern Baptist Culture of the United States, which has engrained in me certain Truths. And I'm surrounded by Mexican Indigenous Culture...which although some have heard the Gospel and responded to it, their Indigenous Culture runs deep.

Let me try to explain...

I've known "L" practically since we arrived in Chiapas in February. I feel that I know her somewhat. She is a single mom who works hard to provide for her daughter. "L" is active in her local church and often attends Prayer Meetings or "Youth" meetings. ("Youth" is defined here as anyone who is not married, so although she's a young 20-something, she fits this category.) 

We once asked her the story of how she came to be a single mom. She explained that she was studying for a career in medicine when she met a guy. She found out she was pregnant, and while she was doing her internship in another town, the father of her child married another woman. He is aware of their child, but has nothing to do with either one of them.

She went on to explain that this had all happened during a rebellious stage of her life. She had grown up in a Christian home, and when she realized she was pregnant, it prodded her to return to her faith. That was 5 years ago...

And this week "L" shared that she is 3 months pregnant. I was shell-shocked. I didn't congratulate her. I didn't know what to say. I didn't even know that there was a man in her life. "L" shared that they have been seeing each other for awhile. He's a Christian and goes to her church. They have talked about getting married, but they don't know when.

Wow...well, that got me to thinking about the Gospel as it has been shared here in Mexico, specifically. And the impact, or lack of impact, that it's had on the lives of Believers.

From my Southern Baptist background, I see a problem with this scenario. Here we have a man and woman who are not married, and they are expecting a child. A man and woman who go to church together. But in Indigenous culture, does a man and a woman get married? Or do they simply begin living together, in the same sense as a "common law" marriage? They are seen as married by those around them, but without the ceremony?

Is this a sin issue? Or just a cultural difference? Or is it a cultural issue that God would deem sinful? Is there a point where the Gospel was reaching the Indigenous people of Mexico, but all they really hear is the Salvation message? Are they only being told the hellfire and brimstone message, to repent and turn to Christ?  Are we failing to give them the meat? Are we teaching them how to live according to God's plan?

I do believe that God's plan is for one man and one woman. Jesus' own words from Matthew 19:4-5 state, “Have you not read,” says Jesus, “that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’” (quoting from Genesis 1:27, 2:24). The Bible does not say "Do not have premarital sex," but it does say to leave your family, and to cleave to your spouse, and become ONE flesh. And 1 Corinthians 7:2 says, "But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband."

I'm not trying to throw sticks at anyone who doesn't believe the same. That's between you and God. (And I believe He loves each of us, inspite of our sins.) My thoughts (which are rambling wildly tonight), are on the Indigenous people of Mexico, specifically the ZK people who we yearn to reach with the Gospel. Are we prepared to take the whole message to them? The message is more than just repent so that you don't burn in's about His Word. His Plan. His Love. His Forgiveness.

So my response toward "L" will be one of love and support. I want to make sure that if it's money that is keeping her from marrying the father of her baby, that I can give her a wedding present. (Cost is often a huge factor. Weddings are expensive.) I want to make sure that if she needs medical care, we help her acquire it. I want to encourage her to seek the Lord. And I want to offer to walk with her through the ups and downs. I want to love her like the Lord loves her.

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