As many of you know, both Donald and I come from military families. Growing up, I moved every 2 years and lived in at least 10 different places. One thing that came natural to me was mimicking the accents of the people where I lived. It was not easy to tell where I was “from” by just listening to me speak. In Paraguay, however, it’s a completely different story. My Spanish accent is definitely North American, and there is no way around it. Sometimes this can be very frustrating, especially as I have been spending more time with Paraguayans that are not used to my special accent. I think most can understand me, but I’ve had my share of people staring at me as if I was from another planet. There are also those few that in some way find my pronunciation amusing. At those times I find myself wishing I could discover the key to talking Paraguayan that would allow me to blend in, that I could somehow become part of them, blue eyes and all.
The other day as I was reading in Matthew, I was shown a new perspective on my accent. Matthew 26:72-74 states:
“And again he denied it and disowned Him with an oath, saying, I do not know the Man! After a little while, the bystanders came up and said to Peter, You certainly are one of them too, for even your accent betrays you. Then Peter began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, I do not even know the Man! And at that moment a rooster crowed.”
Sometimes, those of us who are Christians find ourselves feeling the same way. It is easy to follow Christ and share freely about His love when we are surrounded by others of like mind. However, as we step out our front doors into a world that is increasingly hostile and unreceptive to the ideas and values we hold, we can lose our confidence and find that it is easier to just “blend in.” We try to hide the special “accent” God has put on our lives.
Following Christ is costly, but what is the cost of denying the One who freely sacrificed everything for us? When Peter realized what he had done, “he went outside and wept bitterly.” (v. 75b)
Let us learn from Peter and boldly display our accent without shame. Then we can say as Paul did, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16).