A Proverb On What Reveals Character

Through travel and business a friend is revealed.

Local Oral Tradition

This local proverb points out two life situations which tend to reveal someone else’s character – making long journeys together and doing business together. It’s near-impossible to keep up appearances forever in either of these situations. Sooner or later the real person is going to show up – whether good or bad. Sometimes that experience can forge two strangers into the fastest of friends.

Locals tend to tell me that they never come to trust anyone who isn’t part of their inner family and friendship circle – their oikos, in missiology terms. Yes, we have massive trust issues in this part of the world, which does not bode well for church planting. So I push back with this proverb from their own culture, which usually means they end up conceding the point with a surprised laugh and nod. Such is the power of known proverbs in Central Asia! (If only the heart could be fully convinced so quickly). Then, if they are believers, I modify it and tell them that for true believers it’s through repentance that a friend is revealed. Trust between naturally-disconnected believers can and will be built, despite the protestations of the most jaded Central Asian or missionary. But it will be built not primarily by travel or business, but by the hard work of ongoing repentance.

Photo by Vaida Tamošauskaitė on Unsplash

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