Being in a different, but English speaking country our accent gave us away and we couldn’t, wouldn’t deny it. (And our skin colour did rather make us more conspicuous as shown in that picture taken in Ghana). However, in America I spoke at a Rotary club meeting. I didn't standout amongst the other members, and being a little shy, was rather reserved in a strange environment. Then, I was called upon to say something as a visitor.It was simply a greeting and a little about who I was etc. However, those present kept me talking simply to hear my accent. We do it here in Australia also to those who visit us from overseas.The same principle is true about being a Christian. In a person’s own culture there isn’t much to make them stand-out as a Christian until people pick up ‘the accent.’ This isn’t so much about words but about the unselfconscious ‘accent’ of Heaven coming through our personality, priorities and manner. Although certain facets of our Christian influenced society are disappearing most of us don’t stand out in a crowd. Still, there must be something which the Lord and His Spirit has done within which will ultimately reveal our faith.
Peter had walked with the Lord Jesus for around three years. In that time the character and priorities of Jesus had infiltrated this rough and ready Galilean. Sure his Northern speech did mark him out from the Southerners, but that was not what gave him away. It was his association with Jesus combined with its influence on his manner. This man was having a hard time being surrounded by opponent of Christ. Surely we would be unable to throw stones of criticism or derisive words at him. We know we have done similar in less threatening situations. However, as it happened to Peter, so also in our experiences, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.” Matt. 26:73. (NIV). No amount of denial could erase that ‘accent.’
The dimmest of spiritual light still annoys the darkness. Gracious words can arouse displeasure from disturbed and guilt stricken hearers. Our fellowship with Jesus, unseen though it be, rubs off and onto our spirit. Unbeknown to us that can be as sandpaper scrapping the soul of another. This culture of Heaven cannot be counterfeited, nor will it remain undetected. How strong that ‘accent’ will be depends on how close we walk by faith with the Lord Jesus.
I wonder, does my writing have an accent?
Ray Hawkins June 2017.
(The Warrior Lord's Sword is near - as a 31 day devotional that is...stay tuned!)