One of the hardest lessons for me was learning this … to love me, to really accept myself as Papa does.
As an immigrant growing up in the U.S., I often wondered about my identity. The history I studied at school was not my history. I struggled with fitting in. My family was different. We weren’t “Americans” as others were.
For a short while I thought I would embrace the Hispanic identity given to me in the U.S. which included Christopher Columbus and the history of the Spaniards. But I quickly realized that I was just lying to myself. I knew where I came from. I’m primarily an Aymara Indian – a descendant of the Tiahuanaco civilization from the shores of Lake Titicaca with some Spanish blood mixed in.
No nobility in my blood line. Considering what happened to millions of Indians in the Americas, it’s the grace of God I made it to the 21st century.
As I searched for answers during my college years, a friend pointed me to read the Gospel of John in its entirety. That’s when I ran across John 13.
“ Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.”
I’d found the answer! The Bible lists Jesus’ human lineage in great detail. Jesus knew that his ancestral roots went back to King David but that was not his first identity.
Instead, Jesus, knew that he had come from God and was going to God. And because He knew, He could take a servant’s towel and wash his disciples’ feet.
Yes, my ancestral roots go back to the “Indios” and perhaps all the way to Asia going back thousands of years. But my true identity is that I’m a child of God. He put me in this world and when my time ends here, I’m going to God.
Even before the foundation of the world, God knew that I would be born in the Andes Mountains, grow up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and spend a significant part of my life in Central Europe.
It’s hard erasing the tapes that accumulated in your mind over the years. Even with this liberating truth in my head, my mind had to un-program the beliefs that were in my very DNA.
For hundreds of years Peruvian Indians like other Indians in the Americas were made to believe that they were an inherently inferior group of people – good only for servitude. It’s no wonder I was ashamed of myself – I had centuries of shameful programming to undo!
But praise God that even our DNA can be reprogrammed through His Word and His wonderful Holy Spirit.
With all the hatred of racial tension going on around the world, I realize how my struggle to find my identity – my true worth is really a universal struggle.
At its heart, the problem really is a sin problem. No matter what your ancestral roots are, you will always find people in every race, group, culture who elevate themselves by putting others down.
It’s why we all need Jesus. Jesus, who for the joy set before endured the cross. The ground at the foot of the cross is flat and all of us, regardless of our skin color, are invited to enter the Kingdom of God and join His family.
And the Bible says — Jesus is the way.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” Jh. 1:12,13
Yes, I’m a Peruvian Indian, but more importantly I’m a child of God.