Don't Overcompensate to Prove Yourself

For folks new to thinking about their ethnic identity, this is sage advice.

Ryan White spoke about the life of Moses in the Identity and Mission Track this morning at the LaFe10 Conference and this advice came up several times during his talk.

Moses grew up immersed in Egyptian culture, even though he was born into a Hebrew family.  He had all of the power and prestige of the royal family.  And, as Ryan insightfully pointed out this morning, there's no evidence that he ever identified as a Hebrew in his youth, ever "visited the barrio" so to speak.

But when Moses tried to connect with his Hebrew roots, he went way overboard, even to the point of killing an Egyptian.

Moses, in this, as in most things, is an extreme example.

But this plays out every day in Latino communities.  People who look like me - blond hair and blue eyes - overcompensate for the fact that they don't "look Latino."  In the struggle to belong, we go wrong.

Some default to anger, defending their roots with ferocity.
Others become fake, pretending to be something they're not.
Still others jettison facets of their identities, attempting to be pure.

But God doesn't ask us to prove ourselves.  To Moses, God didn't say "Prove to me that you're a real Hebrew and I'll include you in what I'm doing." No, instead, God said "You belong. Let's get to work."

There's no need to prove yourself in a world full of grace.  This goes for all things, including the development of our ethnic identities.

Don't overcompensate to prove yourself.

1 comment:

  1. i know i'm not latina but having a little bit of a confused cultural background, all these posts about identity and the spirit and family and all of it--i really relate and they are so good to read. thanks, steve!