A real example of a “worldview shift opportunity.”
Here’s a actual situation of a local church leader in a Middle Eastern culture who struggled with a difficult, personally painful situation pointing his need to make a worldview shift.
.Harry and Ivan were two people whom John, the leader of their little church, had helped extensively. He had spent much time encouraging and counseling them individually. He had given each of them financial help from his own pocket. He had helped with the wayward son of one. He had confronted one on some difficult issues. He had built faithfully into their lives.
One day Ivan came to John and told him how Harry had done an unethical and dishonest thing right in front of him. They discussed Harry’s seeming lust for more income leading him to unethical behavior, his failure to lead his family well spiritually and his refusal to help a brother when it was within his power to do so, preferring instead to help an unbelieving relative. [Perhaps you can see in this last item how Harry was acting totally within a Middle Eastern worldview: family first no matter what.]
This was one of several such talks they had. John often tried to tone down Ivan’s anger, and to turn the conversation to other things.
Several months later, one of the expats working in this little church called John and asked him to come to a meeting to talk about relationships. It was not good timing for John as he was under a lot of pressure from his extended family, and was preparing to leave in two days an extended study trip abroad.
When John arrived, there were Ihan and Harry, along with two expats. The meeting started off hot and went to scalding. Ihan accused John of gossip and slander as well as unethical business practices. John was flabbergasted at this turn of events. All the love and help he’d given these guys, and this is how they acted? He steadfastly denied any wrong doing–especially when these two guys had done the exact things they were accusing him of–and attempted to hold in his anger. He refused to acknowledge that he had gossiped or slandered Harry. It was not a good meeting. Everyone left dissatisfied.
Now, the question is, biblically, what should John do? It is clear what he should do according to his culture. He should keep up a front of being right (to admit fault would be a weakness and would bring shame on him). He should cut off his relationship with Ivan and Harry for their insulting him, and he should keep away from the expats that dragged him into such a shaming situation.
However, looking at it biblically there are three very different things he should do. First, he should confess to God his sin in the situation. He did talk with Ivan behind Harry’s back. He was angry at Harry. He did speak as if there was no good in Harry’s life, slandering him. Second, he should then go to each of the other people involved, confess his poor behavior at the meeting along with his stubbornness, pride, gossip, slander and unrighteous anger. And third, he should ask for forgiveness.
Whoa! How many western believers would do such a thing? Yet the difficulty, the contrast with his natural worldview is much greater for John. The gap between what John’s shame culture dictates (do whatever it takes to defend and preserve your honor, at all costs avoid losing face.) and a biblical worldview (humble yourself, confess sin, ask forgiveness). is huge. Humanly speaking, these are impossible demands.
Yet, if John is willing to reject his natural worldview and act according to biblical standards, he will be transformed, the power of his testimony will increase, he can be again filled with the Spirit and he will be a more useful instrument in God’s hand. That’s the power that flows when we are willing to make a worldview shift.
How about you? Are you ready to embrace a biblical worldview at the cost of humiliation? If our foremost desire is to love, glorify and serve Jesus, we can answer with a hearty “YES!” We know that humiliation is the shortcut to humility. And we know that in such obedience, we can glorify God, be further transformed and be more useful for Him. In a biblical worldview, what more could we ask for?!!!