You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?
Learning a second language as an adult is hard. I attempted to learn Spanish at age 30, first in Costa Rica, then in Spain. One thing you find out pretty quickly is that it’s almost impossible to completely lose your accent. As much as I wanted to speak like a native, I just couldn’t.
I stuck out a little in Costa Rica – I was taller and paler than most. But I fit in Spain pretty well. I could walk down the street and most people would assume I belonged there.
But then I would speak.
And they’d know I didn’t belong.
I was thinking about that today, and I began to wonder about my “spiritual” accent. I wondered if, when I open my mouth, people around me know right away that I’m not from around here.
In Hebrews 11, we read about some of the heroes of the faith. In verses 13-16, we are told these men and women admitted they were “strangers on this earth.” And that admission led them to a longing for their true home – their heavenly home – in a city God prepared for them.
It was not wrong for me to want to sound like a native Spanish speaker. But it would be very wrong of me to want to blend into this world.
I struggle with that all the time, though. I don’t want people to think I’m weird or label me narrow-minded or unintelligent because of my beliefs. So sometimes, I talk like the world, act like I belong here. I try to mask my spiritual accent.
And, sadly, there have been times in my life when I’ve done a great job at that, times when no one knew I was a stranger here.
And then I read about people like Enoch and Noah, Abraham and Sarah. People who, like me, weren’t perfect, but they lived a life of faith that looked absolutely insane to those around them. What they did made no sense – not even to them. But they trusted that God knows better than them, that His advice is better than the world’s, and they obeyed.
Like those heroes, we are not of this world. Our home is in heaven. Let us, like them, maintain our heavenly accents. So what if the world thinks we’re crazy?
We’re not from around here!