A culture, by practical definition, is an environment that allows certain things to grow. It probably came as a laboratory term first and moved into society later, but the concept is the same. For example; the environment that allowed penicillin to grow was a specific culture. The scientists created a certain culture, watched what grew, and eventually ended up with a medicine that has saved countless lives.
Here’s a unique twist on that thought… in order for penicillin to grow, there was also a harmful bacteria growing in the same culture. Why not keep the bacteria out? Because without the bacteria we would have never known how strong penicillin is.
Creating the culture you want in your family, business, church, or whatever involves more than saying, “I want these things and nothing else.” An overprotected culture is a sterile culture. Nothing grows in a sterile culture. If want to grow the good stuff, we must accept the risk of the bad. The good news is that whatever you nurture will win.
Specifically today I am thinking about something that is important to me in every area of my life; honor. It hasn’t always been. I used to value being right more than anything else (transparency time) and so the culture around me showed it. The fruit of that focus was a lot of defensive behavior, sarcasm, and shallow relationships. One of the most obvious things missing was the sense that everyone is valuable.
When I say, “Valuable,” I mean the inherent value in every life, not what I can get from them. When I was always worried about whether or not I was right about something, my view of others often fell to a judgement of whether they would agree with me or not. What grows in such a culture is not healthy.
The turning point came when I was indirectly challenged to allow disagreement. More so, to allow myself the opportunity to be wrong. AAAAACK!!! I almost choked on the implications, but the idea actually gave my soul some rest. It was a lot of work to nurture this other culture with no reward.
In order to make these changes in culture my first directive was one of honor. First with myself. I had to learn how to honor who I am, not who I am not. I still wrestle with that one from time-to-time, though I am getting more skillful. The next step was to do the same for everyone else.
The idea of honoring others is not about hiding your own opinions and convictions or constantly powdering the rumps of others. Honor is looking for what is beautiful in others even in the presence of what you do not find attractive about them. When conflict arises you can attack the issue, but you must honor the person. The reason why is far more powerful than the benefits of such a culture.
We honor others because, like us, they are the image bearers of God. To dishonor another is to dishonor their Creator and I want no part of THAT kind of culture.
Practice building a culture where honor grows. Yes, you will risk the presence of those that seek to dishonor, but your job is to nurture what you want and allow it to consume the other.
Look for what is beautiful in others and pray for it to become beautiful in you. Honor will follow.
Be your best,