Have you ever felt that you might have been acting a certain way (perhaps unknown to you) because of your nationality?
I hadn't given it much thought until the day I was buying deli items at a local market. My family was about to house two basketball players from another town for the weekend. As I was choosing various cold cuts, I made the comment, "It's better to have too much than too little." The owner agreed. She then related a story about a man who was having a big party and told her he would really be buying "a lot." When she began to slice the lunch meat, he stopped her at a half a pound! His concept of "a lot" was very different from ours.
After my guests came and left, I had lots of leftovers. Why had I overbought? I wondered. I thought of my grandparents and how they always seemed to want to overfeed us. Then I thought of a local ethnic restaurant where the owner always brings you extra plates of French fries. The hamburgers are much too big for one person to eat-you have to split them between two or three people! Our family always served an overabundance of food in our house. My sister carried on the tradition. And here I was, doing the same thing.
Suddenly I saw that this was an example of something imposed on me, and that I didn't have to continue needlessly overfeeding people because of my family's heritage. A verse from Acts in the Bible gave me food for thought, saying that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (17:26). The man who said that, Paul, also said, to the Christian church at Galatia, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). This oneness of all men and women in God, the power of which destroys the threat of idiosyncrasies and divisions due to nationalities, became clear to me. I saw for the first time that we are all "one in Christ Jesus."
When I watched the news that night and viewed Palestinians and Israelis in various conflicts, I thought of the oneness we all must have according to the Bible. There's no threat of war when we are "one nation under God, indivisible," as the country I live in has been called. I believe that really understanding this can have a far-reaching effect. It can help to bridge the gaps between peoples and nations. It can begin to bring about solutions that promote mutual understanding and greater peace.
Again one day, it occurred to me that I was getting emotional about some little thing. I remembered my son's words, "Mom, you always make such a big deal about everything." And I remembered that my grandpa always made "a big deal," my dad did, and now so was I. The common belief that people of my particular ethnic background have an emotional, excitable nature came to mind. And I thought of these five words: "Heredity is not a law." They are from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Christian Science textbook, which was written by Mary Baker Eddy in 1875 (p. 178). Christian Science is the Science of Christian healing, based on the truth of the Bible. I saw that getting overly emotional was something I didn't have to accept as a part of how God made me, or my grandpa, or my dad, or anyone else. Christian Science explains that God made each of us to express only His own good nature. Realizing this, I felt a calmness I had rarely felt before. I thought of these words from a hymn: "I richly shall inherit / All good, from Thee [God] alone" (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 135).
The Bible asks: "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?" (Malachi 2:10). We all have the same Father. That makes us brothers and sisters. We don't have to act in imperfect ways because of human heritage-if we know our spiritual identity. There are no illegal aliens among God's children. We really are "one nation under God, indivisible," no matter what country we live in. The sooner we understand the reasons for this fact, the sooner peace begins to reign in our hearts and in the hearts of others.