I didn't even know the language of my original family, so others carefully translated all of our family documents so I could know the good news that I was chosen. I am included only because I was grafted into the family tree, made a part only because of my older brother's sacrifices and my Father's mercy (Titus 3:3-7).
I have this family only because I was adopted by the kindness of my Father when I truly believed the good story about His love shown to me through His Son and was adopted into the family (Galatians 3:26-29). But now, I am a royal child of the King, with the special charge of sharing my good story with others so they can know they belong (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Why do I share my confession about being on the outside, without God's grace, with you? Because in all likelihood, it is your story, too! You see this is the truth we so often forget: that we were all on the outside without the grace of adoption, without the Scriptures in our own language, and someone to share the story with us in a way we can understand. This was powerfully demonstrated in a negative way recently.
A person who was reading Heartlight.org left a response for us when they learned that we also have a website in Spanish. (Actually, we have 3 sites in Portuguese, 1 in Spanish, and sites in German, Russian, and Dutch currently under development. Our sites reach hundreds of thousands of people each month in more than 175 countries. And we provide this all free because of the kind support of our friends.) This person was infuriated that we would offer our services in anything but English. This is what this person said:
I just noticed that you now have the sites in Spanish. Why are we doing this? This is the United States of America and we speak English. People are welcome here, but they need to learn our language instead of us giving in to them and providing Spanish. My ancestors had to learn the language before they left Ellis Island. We can't bend every time something like this comes up. We are not helping the problem when we provide these kinds of things.
This response saddened me. These words, however, jarred me out of my own attitude of entitlement toward the grace of God and reminded me of these basic truths:
- I am a Gentile and was not part of God's covenant with Abraham by race or birthright. (Ephesians 2:11-12; 1 Peter 2:10)
- I was lost even if I was a part of Abraham's family by race, because my sin had separated me from God and I was without Jesus' gift of grace. (Romans 5:6-11)
- I am included, adopted, and grafted in because of my faith and the adoption service of my baptism, brought into God's family through the work of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 11:17-24; Titus 3:3-7; John 3:3-7; Galatians 3:26-29)
- I would not have known the good news of God's salvation if someone hadn't taken seriously Jesus' "Great Commission" to reach all nations. (Matthew 28:18-20)
- My future joy in the presence of God and in praise to Jesus with others from every nation, people, tribe, and language is the result of Jesus' dream coming true. (Revelation 7:9-12)
- I would not have known any of this good news if someone hadn't translated the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek of the Bible into my own language.
So let's never forget ... let's never get so caught up in the politics of race or language ... let's never get so worried about self-preservation that we forget that all "those people" — the foreigners and the folks who speak a different language and who have a different culture and a different shade of skin tone — are really us. Without grace from God and the kindness of someone different than we are to share this grace with us, we would be lost, left out, and alien to all God has done for us in Jesus. How can we not share this with every person ... of every shade and language and culture and national origin?
So what do you think of today's article?How would you have reacted to the message left by the person who was angry we were providing parallel resources in Spanish?Do you ever think about being an outsider to God's promises unless the Father had extended grace to us?Are you a child of Abraham by physical descent? How do you feel about Gentile Christians?I'd love to hear from you on my blog: