Can I Have My Own Identity As A Christian?
Do we lose our identity when we become Christians or does it shape us? Johnson Hsu looks at how our identity fits into our life in Christ.
"Stolen from Africa, brought to America." That’s a line from a Bob Marley song called Buffalo Soldier. That line spoke for me as a young man.
I wasn't from Africa, and I wasn't in America (I was in Canada)... but I felt like I had been taken away from where I 'belonged', and brought to a land that was not MY land. A land where I was a stranger.
When I arrived in Canada, Italians were still considered a foreign element. I know it's hard to believe, but pizza was not a thing in Toronto in the late 60s. It was still a novelty foreign food, and I remember we called it 'pizza pie'.
Kids at school used to warn against eating that Italian food because they used GARLIC! That stuff smelled! And your girlfriend wouldn't want to kiss you!
Not that any of us kindergarten or primary school kids actually had a girlfriend that kissed, but that was beside the point.
So for me, as a non-Hong Kong Chinese Canadian kid... there were so few of us, we didn’t even register as a ‘group’ yet.
I wasn’t just a minority but a minority among minorities. My parents didn’t behave like the other parents, and I desperately hoped that people wouldn’t discover that Chinese people used garlic too!
But I think we ‘strangers’ have an advantage. When we meet Christ, and we hear that Christians are 'foreigners and exiles' (1 Peter 2:11) here on earth... we understand. We get it.
We are here, but our heart cries out for our real home.
We are here, but the ways of ‘this’ land grate against our sensibilities
We are here, and we want to live at peace with those around us... but this is not our home, and something deep in our hearts cries out to be home.
But I’m not talking about my ancestral home in China. If I went there now, I would probably find that I don’t fit in there either… because Canada has shaped me in ways I may not even see.
I’m talking about the home that all of us were made for. A home with God, in a garden where all things are good. Where we belong as members of His family. Where I fit in perfectly because He made me to live there.
That’s a big part of why I chose to become a follower of Christ. Because it made sense. In Christ, I smelled the fragrances of Home.
I will go there one day soon. Or He will come here one day soon.
“Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:3-4 NLT)
I’m pretty sure there will be pizza pie there. And garlic. Lots of garlic…
If you don’t know Christ, get to know Him. Don’t listen to what ‘haters’ or mockers say about Him. Read the Bible and get to know Him… I think you’ll find wonders, beauty, but best of all, the call of your Father that you are loved and welcome to return Home!
If you already know Christ, live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into our old ways of living. Those are the ways of this broken world, and we belong to a better place. A higher place. But we should honour our Father while we are here.
Set your eyes and your heart on what is good. On what is noble. On what is true.
God is better than pizza.