Live in Honor
In traveling abroad and visiting another country, differences in cultures are quite apparent. There is a characterstic of Russian culture that I find quite endearing. I am speaking of the gentle and honoring way the Russian people relate to one another. In our rushed society, I think we often forget to live in honor, giving preference to those around us.
When two Russian women walk down the street, they walk close, arm in arm. In our society, this could be interpreted as inappropriate, but it is a lovely way to be close to those around you. I found myself very content to have someones arm linked to mine. It made me feel "not so alone" in an impersonal world. Another characterstric of this same trait is in bearing one another's burdens. While in Perm, it didn't matter whether I was carrying 6 pounds or 60 kilos, my friends noticed the need and, without being asked, assumed much of the burden. This "sharing of the load" is not only helpful, but gives you a deep sense of gratitude to those who, lovingly, offer help. The third way that I was shown the honored preference, was at the dinner table. It was delightful to be served. To be recognized as someone with value in such a simple way really touched my heart.
I went to Russia to teach the Russian teachers Christian Character, however, they showed me Romans 12:9-21 with such beauty that, the words, "living in honor... giving preference to one another", have come alive in my spirit. Now when I read scripture containing the admonition, "be kindly, affectioned one to another" I will be quick to remember, with great fondness, the example of my dear Russian mentors.
When I come to God in prayer,
many petitions I bear,
But there's been one request,
amoung all the rest,
Please, God give me friendship to share.
For years I've cried out one plea,
is there a friend who understands me?
Some one who shares,
my laughter and cares?
God, please send a friend to me.
I've always trusted in Him,
to send this gift of a friend,
God's plans are bigger than mine,
He's prepared the gift all this time,
And I've found it, in Zina, my friend.