So, I am a Cuban. Did you know? I mentioned it here in case you hadn’t noticed. My parents came to the USA when Communism took over in the 60’s during their teenage years, but the shadow of that little island just 90 miles south of my home state looms large over my life. There are rules about being a Cuban kid. Yep. The rules of “Cuban-ness” are firmly ingrained into my psyche. My dad, the Cuban Fred Flinstone in a guayabera, schooled me in the rules. The rules must be firmly adhered to and should never be questioned. In short, the rules are as follows:
Rule Number 1: You must hate Fidel Castro.
Rule Number 2: You must hate everyone who likes Fidel Castro. (This is a big group of people…)
Rule Number 3: You must be able to communicate rule 1 and 2 in both English and Spanish.
Rule Number 4: Everyone who hates Fidel Castro must be respected. This usually means kissing people on the cheek in greeting as you enter and exit a room.
If you are not a Cuban, these rules may seem a bit intolerant, out dated, or even nonsensical, but if you are Cuban kid, you understand that these rules are deeply rooted in pain, passion, and patriotism. You don’t mess with the rules. You will politely kiss an old Cuban man who hates the bearded dictator because you are honoring your family in the deepest way. (Please note the picture above of evidence of my respect for all things Cuban — on my 15th birthday, I donned a big, scary white dress for my “Quinces,” my Cuban “coming out.”)
Now, besides being a Cuban, I am also a Christian. My Savior donned flesh and came to the earth over 2,000 years ago to die on a cross, and the shadow of that cross defines everything that I am. There are rules about being a Jesus Chick, a Christ follower. Yep. These rules of Christian living have been written on my new heart by God Himself. My Heavenly Father, the Creator of this universe, penned a book that points me in the right direction. That book must be firmly adhered to and never questioned. God’s rules for this Jesus Chick are as follows:
Rule Number One: Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul.
Rule Number Two: Love your neighbor (and your enemy) as yourself.
Note: You must communicate rules 1 and 2 in action, not just in word and thought. This requires dying to self.
If you are not a Christian, these rules may seem rigid, naïve, or even impossible, but if you are a Christ follower, you know that the rules are deeply rooted in grace, compassion, and devotion. You don’t dismiss the rules. You will sacrificially extend yourself to pesky people who disagree with you because you are obeying your Savior’s example.
These days, the word “Christian” has almost become an expletive to some. It causes me to wonder — how well are we loving others? Are we obeying the rules? They will know we are Christians by our love.
Q4U: Do you think “Christian” has become the “C word”? How do you live out the call to love others as Christ loved?
My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.” Find out what that means here.