Blind Spots

I am living in a country where there is garbage all around: at the beaches, on the streets, everywhere – you just can’t escape the sight of trash! But the locals don’t even notice it. For them it is as normal as rocks and sand laying around. As much as the western eye is disturbed by the sight of all the trash, one has to say that there is a different kind of garbage in western societies.

Once I heard an American complaining that when he visited Germany, he felt like he was walking into to a huge porn shop. There was pornography visible for the public eye everywhere – magazines in kiosks on street corners, on TV, in advertisements, etc. Growing up in Germany I didn’t feel like this American did because I was used to it. It seemed to be normal – like the garbage on the streets elsewhere.

On another occasion I heard Americans in a conversation where they just could not finish a single sentence without using the “F…”-word. I was irritated by this audible garbage, but for them it was just a normal part of conversation.

It seems that it is easy to recognize the faults and mistakes of another culture and then inwardly look down on them for what they are doing while neglecting one’s own cultural blind spots. Jesus had a different way in mind when dealing with others’ faults: “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”