I spent the day yesterday glued to all things Royal as I watched Harry and Meghan tie the knot. While this eclectic, British/American wedding unfolded, I couldn’t help but think about nationality and culture.
I have now lived in the UK for over 30 years and in many ways, I feel quite British. I understand their dry sense of humour now and know the affectionate place it comes from. I have been completely infected by the British love of gardens and pubs and roast lunches. I have even come to enjoy rainy day walks as long as I get the obligatory cup of tea afterwards. I have learned to talk less and listen more and to drop everything when the sun is shining and enjoy it.
But whether I like it or not, my nationality always shows itself eventually.
I like tea, but I LIVE for coffee and I drink it out of a Cowgirl mug. My laugh is way too loud and please do not take me to a restaurant that does not have a burger on the menu or we cannot be friends.
I am way too optimistic to be passed off a local. I hate English mustard and fish and chips. And don’t take away my visa, but am pretty indifferent about nature programs. Sorry.
Nachos still are, and always will be my love language.
That is because I am a native-born American and where I spent the first 17 years of my life still affects what I like and what I don’t.
In Ephesians 5.8, before Paul encourages us to live carefully, He explains why.
Because we are children of light, or as the Amplified version says, ‘native-born to the light.’
In the next verse, Paul tells us a life of light consists of every form of kindly-goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life.
As Christians, this is our culture and it should colour who we are.
In this harsh, critical, hateful world we show where we are from when we choose kindness. This kindness will stop others in their gossiping tracks and it can change the atmosphere in our place of work and our homes.
Those of us native-born to light should be immediately uncomfortable with all hypocrisy and any kind of posturing or posing. Instead, we can be known for our sincerity and integrity, both of which are in very short supply in 2018.
We shouldn’t be surprised if we have no taste for things that are tasteless or off-colour because we love what He loves and hate what He hates.
Our natural desire should always be for justice, mercy and humility, (Micah 6.8b). Unforgiveness, vengeance, bitterness and pride should feel very uncomfortable to us. Followers of Jesus love like He loves or they are not followers.
And, our natural habitat should always be with those in need, not the cool group
After 33 years in this country, I have to fight hard to keep my American identity. That is because I want to fit in here. I want to understand others and to be understood. But I have to be careful not to lose who I am. It is the same with Kingdom culture.
We have to find a way to live here, love our neighbours, listen, understand and be involved. But we cannot afford to lose who we are because it is our distinctiveness that makes us useful, not our blending in.
Don’t be afraid to be different, to show where you come from and who you are. Don’t be afraid to be the kind one, the generous one, the forgiving one.
Live the set-apart, laid-down life you are made for.
Stand up and stand out. Stand alone if you have too.
Love the world you live in enough to change it.
‘Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.’ Romans 12.2 The Message.