When we first moved to Germany, we prayed that God would show us how he wanted to use us here. We prayed for the right words to speak, and the right things to do. We came with an open mind, and very little knowledge of German people or culture. We couldn’t have imagined how much we would learn and receive from the people around us. Our German friends and neighbors are some of our greatest mentors.
Every culture bears the image of God. God designed us intentionally to be diverse, with each culture or people group displaying a unique characteristic of God’s personality. Germany is no exception. We see God at work in the German culture in 3 distinct ways: through thoughtfulness, honesty, and order.
Germans are thoughtful about their approach to life. They give though to how they treat others, the environment, and the world. Germans tend to be well-educated, well-informed and benevolent toward those in need. Since the current refugee crisis began, Germany has welcomed more refugees into its borders than any other country in the world. And they didn’t stop there. They provide refugees with wholistic care, including social/emotional support, language/cultural classes, and assistance in finding employment. We are proud to call this country our home. Germans are mindful of their neighbors, both near and far. We see God’s image of love most clearly through German culture in this way.
When we first moved to Germany 3 years ago, this aspect of the culture shocked us. As people who come from a culture which prizes politeness before honesty, we were shocked by the level of directness we experienced from Germans (sometimes, we still are!) But we have grown to appreciate this aspect of the culture, too. People generally say what they mean, without sugarcoating things, and one is not left guessing what someone else’s opinion is. Maybe this clear communication style alleviates anxiety. Learning to adapt to this part of the culture has helped us to grow personally as we are better able to receive and offer constructive feedback without taking it personally. Germans notice the things around them that need improvement, and they take time and effort to improve those things with the intention of improving society for everyone.
Finally, we see God’s hand in the German way of ordering things. Rules are clearly communicated and people adhere to them. Rules are followed out of a respect for society and for each other.
We know that the God we serve is a God of order. He created light in the darkness and order out of chaos. When things are well ordered in a society, people are less anxious and creativity abounds. We have grown to love these things, and many more things, about the culture we now call home. These are just 3 of the many ways we see God at work in the German people and culture.