Connecting with Culture
It’s been said that culture is ‘what we make of the world’, but what does that look like as Christians? How can we begin conversations about what’s goin...
There’s something you should know about me.
I’m a cycling commuter. In London. And most of the time, I’m relentlessly smug about it.
Come rain or shine (I make an exception for snow, because I don’t have a death wish), I don my helmet and lycra, drape myself in as many fluorescent items as I can lay my hands on, and pedal off to work.
On these journeys, I’ve recently been reflecting on cycling and the nature of sin.
Let me explain.
When I’m a cyclist, I’m broadly at the mercy of drivers’ ability (or lack thereof) to drive safely. Sometimes it can get a bit ropey. In fact, my husband and I often compare notes about which drivers we’ve yelled at on our respective commutes.
The truth is, when I’m a cyclist, I’m pretty much convinced that all drivers are idiots.
But I’m also a London driver.
And when I’m a driver, I’m pretty much convinced that all cyclists are idiots.
Notice a pattern?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a reckless driver. Nor am I an unsafe cyclist. But in my own head, no matter what happens, any near-misses are never my fault. Even if I’ve definitely forgotten about stopping distances being longer in the rain and accidentally cycled into the back of my husband (true story).
I’m very good at making excuses for my own mistakes, my own sin, and very quick to blame others. I always have mitigating circumstances or a reason for my failings. But everyone else? Well, they’re just irresponsible.
This may be particularly obvious on my commute, but where else might this show up in my day-to-day life? A colleague who drops the ball is frustrating, but when I’m late to a meeting there are always ‘legitimate’ reasons for my tardiness. A friend who forgets an important date hurts my feelings, but when I was late sending my goddaughter her birthday present it was because there was just too much other stuff going on.
Rationalisation is a natural human response to falling short. But what if we extended the same amount of grace to others as we extend to ourselves (Matthew 7:12)? And perhaps we can use moments of failure to exercise the muscle of apologising – without sharing the myriad of reasons why we aren’t as culpable as everyone thinks we are.
As a smug cyclist, I know it’ll be difficult… but with God’s help, nothing is impossible.
Associate Speaker, LICC
Church and Theology Executive, International Justice Mission