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I was speaking with someone this past week who has spent a great deal of his life travelling around the world, much of it for a mission agency. He spoke of a time when he visited an extremely remote, forested part of India where people live very primitively. He stayed there for a while. This fellow is interested in something called missiology, which in part is to do with trying to understand just HOW to bring the gospel to an unknown people group.


A key thing there is that you need to learn what makes the culture of the group you’re trying to reach tick. You need to learn what matters to them, what they value. So after being there for a while, and after having all kinds of conversations, this fellow was speaking with the chief elder. And, through a translator, he asked: “What are the 5 worst things people can do?”. I think he expected ‘murder’ or ‘rape’ or some such crime that we here in the west would call the most heinous. But the chief elder listed 5 things, the first of which was ‘slander’. My friend asked: “Really? You would put slander ahead of murder”. The elder answered: “Yes. If you kill a man, you’ve killed him. He’s gone. If you slander him, try to deceitfully destroy his reputation, you have killed him while he yet lives”.

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