What goes unsaid.

Have you ever noticed what goes unsaid in our everyday life?  Probably not.  Most of us never think about the social and cultural mores that make up our everyday life.  The interesting thing about a culture is that the most important aspects are never spoken- they are already known by everyone!   For example, when was the last time you told a loose acquaintance not walk in your house without knocking or letting you know?  Probably never.  The reason you haven't said it out loud is not because you don't mind it, but because it is so obvious you don't need to say it.  This makes sense to us.  But have you ever considered what goes unsaid in other cultures?  

Have you ever seen a lost child in a store?  Perhaps they looked confused or were crying.  Most likely, you would stop and help them.  You would take them to the store manager or call the police if their parents couldn't be located. But no one told you to do this.  It is unspoken.  Did you know that not every culture acts this way.  There are some countries where you don't intervene with poor or homeless or lost people, even if they are children.  There is no American manual to tell you to do this, you simply have to live here and figure it out. It becomes "the way it is".

I say all of this to make a simple point.  Almost everything that is crucial to our culture is UNSAID.  If it needed to be said or reminded, it wouldn't be ingrained.  So if you are writing a book based in our culture, you would never explain the things that go unsaid.  You would never explain the cultural mores.  And someone reading would either know them (if they are familiar with your culture) or miss them completely (if unfamiliar with your culture).  Now consider that every culture and every time period has mores. This means that, unless you are familiar with the cultural mores of Ancient Rome or Israel, you are likely missing the things that go unsaid.  In fact, you are probably assuming your culture on top of theirs.  
Here is one example.  In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul tells women to dress modestly.  Now in our culture, this means that a woman shouldn't show too much skin. But that isn't what Paul is talking about.  No woman in his time was walking around in flashing their midriffs or even their ankles!  It goes unsaid in their culture to be sexually modest when you dress. Paul is talking about wearing fancy or expensive clothing.  He is telling them to be economically modest, not sexually.  Paul didn't even consider that this sentence would be used to tell girls not to wear short shorts.  It was so obvious to him, it went unsaid.  
What is the point of this blog post?  I simply want us to approach the Bible with an open mind.  We need to take the time to study or ask questions about verses that may seem obvious to us. The truth is that often the Bible reads us as much as we read it.  We project our own beliefs and ideas into instead of taking the time to discover what it is actually telling us.  
This may seem daunting, but it really isn't, it simply take consistency and the desire to continually dig into God's word.  It also takes a lot of grace- none of us will ever get it perfect!

Fun fact- Did you know that in parts of Indonesia, you can be excused from school in order to accompany a friend on a long errand!  It would be unthinkable to let them go alone! In the US, we would never consider asking for permission to skip school in order to help a friend out.  It wouldn't even come up. In Indonesia it goes unsaid- of course you take time out of your day to go with someone on a journey!
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Cindy M - October 27th, 2021 at 9:30pm