GodReflection: The Ultimate IN Sider.
The first words I heard over my cry after the doctor’s slap my rear at birth were spoken in English. After several attempts at baby babel, I was an English speaker. Although, my childhood teachers and my grades attest to my lack of excellence in the sport.
Raised in the USA State of New Mexico, we lived only three hot hours by car from Cidad Jarez, Mexico. Due to our proximity to the border nation Spanish was taught annually in my schools. Yet only classmates of Mexican immigrants could speak Spanish at the close of each year’s course. We Anglos managed to learn only a small vocabulary. We discovered “casa” is a “house” and “gato” is a “cat.”
Then at the age of twenty-three my challenge was to learn a new language FOR REAL. Upon my arrival in Brazil to live I noticed EVERYONE spoke Portuguese. To survive and to fulfil my job assignment there was no choice—I must learn a new language.
As I began to learn to communicate basic sentences, I discover yet another challenge. My old actions, habits, and views that serve in my childhood town didn’t apply. I would need to learn a new culture for my new language to connect with the Brazilian people.
By the time the apostle Paul’s ink quill finishes Ephesians chapter four he describes throughout thirty-two verses the change that takes place in Christ. Not only have we acquired a new language, but we find ourselves in transformation into more of a whole and holy person than we could have ever envisioned. Our culture changed.
His quill paint’s a dark and grim picture of where we are without Jesus. With descriptors such as deceitful, tossed by the wind (4:14), pointless thinking (4:17), disconnected from God, no sense of right and wrong, self-service, corruption, greed (4:18-19), lying, anger, stealing 4:25-27), sinning, foul words, bitterness, slander, along with every other evil, all of which makes the Holy Spirit of God unhappy (4:29-31), he describes the need to learn a new language.
In Christ, SLOWLY I learn from his culture humility, gentleness, patience, I take my first steps to accept others with love and to try to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties us together (4:2-3). I find it is a culture where I learn to live the reality of Jesus’ act that grafts me into one body, and one spirit, just as God also called us in one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all (4:4-6).
As we learn both a new language and a new culture, we learn to speak the truth with love and grow in every way into Christ (4:15). With our eyes and ears, we learn to imitate Jesus who shows and tells us truth is in him (4:21). So, we now speak the language of truth because we are in Christ (4:25).
With a newly acquired Father, Son, Spirit, language and formed within their new culture under the direction of Jesus we speak only what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what we say (4:29). And our speech is now kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other in the same way God forgave us in Christ (4:32).
Back to my Portuguese language and culture acquisition.
Halfway through my seventh decade I am far from perfect in my second language and culture. Even as I read daily and speak periodically, my language skills remain inadequate and I still make mistakes in culture.
That is not too different from where I find myself with my new language and culture acquisition as an insider in Christ. For me my lifelong experience with Portuguese and its culture with my continual missteps, I find a parallel with the language and culture found in Christ.
After all these years my Jesus language is still flawed with unholy mistakes. Across the big picture of each day and week I am nowhere near perfect in my attempt to reflect in Christ-culture. But that is ok since I am an ultimate insider in Christ. He covers me with his sacrificial blood so I can know there will come a time under the new heaven on his reclaimed and restored earth when my Jesus language and in Christ culture will be flawless. Let’s be there to celebrate together. We will be transformed instantly into a spotless culture of goodness and we will speak perfectly like Jesus speaks.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on As An Insider, I Learn a New Language and a New Culture.
3 thoughts on “As An Insider, I Learn a New Language and a New Culture”
Gary, thank you for sharing your insight. You have an excellent unique gift of communicating great truths in simple, yet profound thoughts. Keep on keeping on! God bless.
I always appreciate your kind encouragement. May you too keep on keeping on in all that you do the be Jesus among us.
Amém, dear Gary, amém