Cultural Humility In Personal Interactions & Spiritual Conversations
Last post, we learned about cultural humility – what it is and how to develop it through the cultural humility wheel.
This month, we want to give you some practical tips on how to make use of cultural humility in your personal interactions and in spiritual conversations.
How to Use Cultural Humility in Personal Interactions
In our interconnected world, personal skills that foster cultural humility are crucial. So let’s make sure we try our best to:
- Seek knowledge of different cultures and worldviews when working with someone from a different background. Ask them about their food, holidays, history, and pop culture!
- Learn how to pronounce peoples’ names, as this is a core part of their identity.
- Be careful as you talk about the cultural information you’ve obtained in a humble way. For example, if you’ve read about a political crisis happening in a friend’s country, don’t speak as if you’ve mastered the topic. Rather, you could say: “I saw on the news that your country is going through a political crisis. But I would like to hear from you who know your country best.”
- When in doubt, ask! It’s the best way to show you want to know the other person.
- Be patient amidst uncertainty, as cultural humility puts us in the position of the apprentice .
- Practice impartiality, as we have a common tendency to judge those we perceive as different or favor those we consider similar to ourselves.
- Adopt flexibility and look for alternatives to overcome problems together.
- Don’t assume everyone in an ethnic group is the same.
- Keep up-to-date with the culture, as identities, values, and needs of diverse communities continually change.
Again, practice humility while gaining knowledge of other cultures. Remember that we don’t know it all and that’s OK!
How to Use Cultural Humility for Spiritual Conversations
When we exercise cultural humility, the message we send is: “I care about you, I accept you, I want to be your friend.”
I care about you, I accept you, I want to be your friend.
This opens doors for people to come together. We all have a need to be known and welcomed, especially international students who are immersed in a different culture and desire to feel at home.
As friendship and trust are built, it’s inevitable that conversations about our deepest-held beliefs and values come up. This is where we should be especially humble and willing to hear people out because talking about deep personal convictions will sound confrontational if humility is abandoned.
Humility does not mean that you have to agree, but it does mean that you can be curious, ask good questions, and seek to understand.
Seek to understand what they believe and why, then be ready to share your perspectives on the same topics when they ask. Humility does not mean that you have to agree, but it does mean that you can be curious, ask good questions, and seek to understand.
An Example: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
The Bible contains many examples of using cultural humility to build bridges and deepen relationships.
One example is in John 4, when Jesus dialogues with a Samaritan woman. Jesus was a Jew, she was a Samaritan; there was great hatred between these two cultures, so much so that Jews crossed the Jordan River rather than travel through Samaria.
Despite the hostility, Jesus steered to common ground
Despite the hostility, Jesus steered to common ground, which was drawing water from the well– Jacob’s well to be exact. Not only was going to the well a part of her lifestyle, but Jacob’s well was historically important to both Jews and Samaritans. To address the existential thirst every human being has, Jesus connected the physical well with the spiritual. He was able to build a relationship with the woman because of his cultural humility.
In practice, it’s recommended to start by:
- Praying that God will show you the existing bridges to talk to your friends about spiritual things. (He will give you wisdom, discernment, and insights!)
- Learning about your international friend’s worldview.
- Researching how to approach and love your friend in a way that makes sense to them according to their worldview. Remember all people need love, but they may receive it in different ways.
We hope these two articles on cultural humility were helpful! Let us know in the comments below– how do you practice cultural humility in the spaces you occupy? How do you incorporate Philippians 2 of putting others above yourself?
Until next time! 😊🧡