There's a general consensus that airplane food isn't the best. My pale white sausage and floppy omelet looked pretty unappetizing paired with the smacking sounds by the man eating fruit next to me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him go for his yogurt cup. "Man, if cubes of fruit made those sounds I'm not looking forward to this yogurt" ....."slurp..." And it went on, but partway through his yogurt I thought, what's wrong with me? Those sounds are normal in many places, just not where i grew up. I was disgusted at myself for being so picky about how something should be done to please me because of what is normal to me. That was a small, safe way for the Lord to show me how I think and I'm grateful that it was this way instead of through offending someone in the future without realizing why. I pray that God will keep pushing me to see people outside of my cultural glasses, beyond what people do or how they act. I don't want to be so particular in how things should be done. Mannerisms, courtesy, social norms of pushing, hacking, snorting, slurping, being loud, smelling bad...those kinds of cultural differences shouldn't matter. I hope the next 6 months, although short in comparison to 23 years of accumulating preferences, will help open my eyes to see and love people first as God's creation. I see the broad variety of people and culture as a glimpse of the breadth of God's understanding. From Forgotten God by Francis Chan: Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the “Helper” or “Comforter.” Let me ask you a simple question: Why would we need to experience the Comforter if our lives are already comfortable? It is those who put their lives at risk and suffer for the gospel (Phil. 1: 29) who will most often experience His being “with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28: 20 NASB). Though this verse is true for all believers (of course God is always with us), if we are never alone or feeling like we need Him, how much do we care or need to know that God is with us?
I don't like to be uncomfortable, that's why I didn't like the sounds while eating, yet I need to be so that I don't become comfortable with my preferences and numb to particularities that will get in the way of relationships with people, and consequently reflect on what kind of God such a culturally narrow-minded person believes in.