Who is my family? What is my country? What is my ethnicity? What is my religion? Where do I belong? In the past, I have been taught that my family are those who are my biological relatives. Not anymore. I don’t know those people. My new family are those who willingly spend time with me and who share the same goal of serving the poor. I was taught that my country is where I was born. I no longer consider this true. My country, my land, is wherever I can peacefully settle and live with others in spite of different backgrounds. I was also taught that my ethnicity is determined by the culture where I was raised, my first language, and the color of my skin. I reject that. I don’t belong to any ethnicity, I am just human wanting to serve other humans. I was also told that my religion should be Catholic, then Pentecostal, and then non denominational Christian. I am neither of these now. I am a man who continues to doubt but continues to reflect on who God is and what He wants me to do in this life. I hate those who the world consider my family because they keep me bound to traditions and customs that keep me away from genuinely serving others. I refuse to consider where I was born my country, because I don’t live there anymore. My country is wherever I can do what I so strongly feel like doing. I reject belonging to any ethnicity, because my citizenship belongs to where my heart wants to live and I am able to serve others. I don’t have a religion, because my faith is based on being poor in heart, accepting my weaknesses, being meek, and a peacemaker, fighting for righteousness, having a clean heart, loving my neighbor as I love myself, not on a distant God or set of religious doctrines.
You think these are harsh words? Well, this is what is required to fully live the Kingdom of Heaven as written in Matthew 10:37-38 (“if you love your parents more than Me, you are not worthy of me”), Matthew 12:46-50 (“he who does God’s will is My family”), Matthew 7:21 (“not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven”), Phillipians 3:20 (“our citizenship is in heaven”), John 8:43-44 (“”why is my language not clear to you? Because you don’t hear me. You belong to your father the devil!”) and James 4:4 (“don’t you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”). I learned that if I am going to truly live the Kingdom of Heaven, I must separate myself from all the traditional views about who I am and where I belong that this world teaches me.