In 2008 my family and I initiated the process to become U.S. citizens. We studied the booklet about U.S. history and government and passed the test. We went through interviews and we had our background checked.
Finally early in 2009 we were called for the Naturalization Oath Ceremony at the Federal Building in Cleveland.
It was a very nice ceremony where the judge welcomed a couple hundred new American citizens. In his speech he highlighted that most Americans are descendants from individuals who one day immigrated to this country to make it their new home.
It was a very special event, and each person was called upfront to receive from the judge the Certificate of Naturalization.
After the event was over and the judge had left, I approached the immigration officer that was there and I said: “We need to call the judge back!”
He asked: “Why?”
I said: “Something went wrong!”
“What is wrong?” he insisted.
“My accent… it is still here. I am an American citizen now, I shouldn’t be talking like this!”
He laughed as I walked away, proudly carrying my new certificate.
I thought about that recently when I was studying the life of the apostle Peter.
It is interesting to observe that even though he is transformed by his experience with Jesus and with the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life, he retains his personality. He is still that impetuous man that is always the first to present his opinion, or the fastest to try something bold.
He was the leader of the early church with the same passion he left his fishing business to follow Jesus.
His “accent” was still there. God used his personality as his character was being built.
Isn’t it great to know that as we become more like Jesus, we still maintain our individuality?
That is a great way to glorify Him.