It is amazing what you can learn about people by just sitting down and watching them.
Though I may not know any real facts about the individuals, couples, families or groups of people that I watch, I do pick up on some of their expressions, body language, tone of voice, eye movement, dress, hygiene and visible emotions that allow me to make certain assumptions about them. My assumptions may be totally inaccurate and even be judgmental at times, but I make them anyway.
Even now as I visit various cultures around the world in my international travels, I still enjoy and think that I learn a lot by watching people and observing their expressions and how they interact with me and with one another. Sometimes communication is verbal, other times the communication is visual, and sometimes it is obvious that the other party is totally unwilling to communicate at all, which still communicates something about them.
Not long ago, I found myself stuck at a really busy intersection for several minutes. I watched car after car drive by me on their way to work. What really stuck out to me that particular morning, were the many obvious husband and wife couples that were traveling together.
I saw one or two couples who were talking and smiling at one another like they were happy to be together and were enjoying one another's company. In most of the passing cars, the man was driving and the lady was sitting on the passenger side either reading a book or looking at her phone, much like strangers on a bus or a train. A few of the couples appeared to be having some kind of disagreement or problem that was obvious causing some stress in their relationship. One couple pulled up right beside me and the lady had her feet toward the door with her back to her husband and I could not help but laugh out loud when I thought to myself what she must have been thinking!
I have had the opportunity to travel to many countries during my lifetime, especially during the last 26 years of being involved in full-time Christian ministry. I have seen and experienced a lot of cultural, racial, religious, relational, educational, governmental, environmental, geographical and socioeconomically differences and variations in people and various people groups. In all of these experiences, I have confirmed several Biblical and/or universal principles that apply to every person, without exception, no matter the variations mentioned above.
All people bleed red. All people are conceived when human sperm enters a human egg and with all our technology, scientist cannot make either. All people laugh and they all cry. All people believe in some god or higher power that they either worship, fear, or try to appease. All people have a moral system or conscience, but they are all sinners because they cannot even live up to their own perceived rights and wrongs. All people have a sinful nature. All people need grace and a propitiation for their sin to be at peace with themselves and with God. All people have emotions. All people grieve. All people will die. All people will one day stand before a holy and eternal God to whom they will give an account. All people are loved by their creator God, the "I Am" God of the Bible. All people, whether they know it or not, need to hear and respond to the Good News of Jesus Christ to know Him and to be able to accept His forgiveness and inherit eternal life. All people will spend eternity in one of two places; heaven or hell.
Among all these commonalities that I have observed or that I know to be true because the Bible teaches them, there is one observation that I have made many times over the years that may seem a little simplistic or unimportant, but in reality, I think is profound! The first time that this observed truth hit me, I was sitting in an international airport terminal in France awaiting a flight to the Middle East. In the very crowded and noisy waiting area, I looked around and saw people that were obviously from the Middle East, India, Europe, Southeast Asia, and various African nations.
There was an unusually large number of infants and toddlers gathered in the same gate area, all who seemed to be tired and irritable from all the hours of travel and missed naps and feedings. As I watched the crowd and observed all the various ethnicities and cultural differences, this truth hit me: No matter where in the world these babies were from or where they were going, no matter what color, ethnic background, religious or language differences of their parents, all of the children cried in the same language!
Think about that for a moment! As they grow and mature, they will learn the language of their parents. They will most likely have the same or very similar religious beliefs and convictions. They will eat the same foods prepared with the same spices as their family. They will dress and learn to adopt most all of the cultural nuances that give them their identity and that set the stage of how they will live and what they will believe.
All these things they will be taught and will learn, but in the beginning, they all cry in the same language and are all blank slates. The only difference would be the color of their skin! You put all the crying newborns in one room at the time they are born and they would all sound the same. If you blindfolded all the mothers, even they would be unable to distinguish the cries of their baby from any of the others. They would not be able to distinguish the cry of a white baby from that of a black, yellow, red or brown baby. All babies cry in the same language, period!
All people of all races, ethnicities, religions, from all the nations and of both sexes, are all created in God's image, just as the Bible teaches. Everything else that separates us or that causes prejudices are learned and/or are environmental.
In the picture above, I was waiting at another airport terminal gate. I sat down between one nice lady who was 46% American Indian and 54% Mexican, and a nice black lady in a wheel chair who was from the Caribbean. Together we talked and watched this white lady on the floor trying to entertain her daughter while we waited for the delayed flight. Soon, the darker lady showed up with coloring books and the two little girls started playing together. Within minutes, the little black girl slowly joined in the fun. All three of these children who were complete strangers began to play together. I told the two ladies I was sitting with: "You know, that is a good picture. They are white, brown and black and are complete strangers. I reckon nobody has taught them yet that it is wrong for them to love and play together!"
We Christians do not love and worship Jesus because we are more deserving or because we are more loved by God, but because we had the opportunity and blessing to hear the Gospel message for ourselves and to put our faith in His atoning death to save us from our sin. Children who are taught to be Muslim, Hindu, or any other pagan religion, are all loved and created by the same God and are just as deserving to have access to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and the living Word of God as we do. In fact, the Bible says just that in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
In John 3:17-18, Jesus went on to tell us the fate of all of those who have not had the opportunity to hear about and put their faith in Jesus' substitutionary death and resurrection to save them. It also speaks to those of us who have heard, but have not accepted the forgiveness and salvation that only Jesus can provide. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Hell is our default destination for all people of every nation who do not believe on Jesus! We do not have to change a thing to go hell!