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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Your Accent Gives You Away

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." Matthew 26:73 NIV

Just a word.

That’s all it takes for someone to know I am from the south. Just one little “y’all” will do the trick. I was born and raised in Georgia, but even in my southern high school friends would often comment on my accent. “You sure are a southern belle,” they would tell me.

Recently a girlfriend and I traveled to New Mexico for a writer’s conference. We stood talking in the Albuquerque baggage claim as we waited for our luggage to arrive when we noticed a woman inching closer and closer. At first we kept chatting, but soon she was close enough to pick lint off of my shoulder. “I’m sorry,” she finally said, “but where are you from?” “Georgia,” we replied in stereo. “Oh, I just love to hear you talk. Your accents are so melodious,” she gushed. We laughed because southerners aren’t always given accolades for their beautiful speech. Instead, we are often criticized and falsely labeled as “ignorant.”

Even if I wanted, I couldn’t disguise my accent.

Peter found the same to be true. When Jesus was arrested, Peter along with Jesus’ other closest friends fled. They deserted Him. Eventually, Peter came back around to watch from the shadows and see what would become of the one he called Lord. As he stood in the courtyard, twice he was recognized as being with Jesus of Nazareth. He denied it. On the third accusation they claimed, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." (Matt. 26:73 NIV)

Jesus of Nazareth was a Galilean. The Galileans speech differed from the dialect of those from Jerusalem. The Galileans were thought to have more of an unrefined and impolite vernacular. Sounds like the Galileans and southerners have a little something in common. Peter was also from Galilee. Upon hearing Peter speak, those around him immediately recognized his speech and knew he must have been there with Jesus. Peter’s fear compelled him to deny any association with Christ, and thus he denied Him a third and final time.

But what an honor today – to be associated with Christ by your speech.

I wonder what people would say if they could hear me reprimand my children. Would my choice of words associate me with Christ? How about when the drive-thru gets my order wrong? Would I sound like Christ then? Do my words tell of our Savior when the person in front of me in the “15 items or less” lane is checking out with 35 items?

I want my words to be accented with Christ. I want the speech flowing from my lips to tell of my Risen Lord. I wish to choose an appropriate tone to convey the same grace I have been given. When I talk, my desire is for people to move closer and closer because they hear His melodious accent pouring from my heart.

How about you? Does your accent give you away?

Visit Carol at sheep to the right!

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Blogger Denise said...

Amen, preach it sweet one.

December 11, 2008 at 1:20 AM  
Blogger Amydeanne said...

great thoughts to ponder. i think "sometimes" it does, but not enough... my canadian accent does though lol

December 11, 2008 at 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Willow said...

Well, I'm a fellow Georgian so we wouldn't even notice one another's accents!

As to your bigger message, I'm afraid that my "accent" does give me away, in a negative light. My temper and impatience are quick to flare up and, while I am generally pretty good at holding my tongue, I think you can probably tell in my attitude, in the way I hold myself or clinch my jaw in some of those situations, that my actions are less than Christlike.

Thanks for the reminder.

December 11, 2008 at 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Genikwa Williams said...

HALLELUUUUJAH!!! You can't tell, but I'm shouting with my mixed-up, people-from-North-Carolina-Jersey-and-Brooklyn accent. LOL!

This is such an excellent message, Sister Carol. It is so true that our mouths tell a whole lot about who we really are. That's why so many unsaved folks (and believers alike) are confused. So many people who profess to be Christ followers don't sound a thing like Him.

It's like when I went to Paris a few years ago. I was the only one in our group who could speak a little French, so I helped out with restaurant orders, directions, and the like. But the French weren't fooled. My accent and poorly constructed French gave me away. I was definitely not one of them.

Thank you for letting the Lord speak through you. To God be the glory!

May He rain down blessings on you and your ministry, my Sister.

Firmly In His Grip,
Genikwa Williams

December 11, 2008 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Losing Myself said...

WOW, I know my Texas twang gives me away....especially around these accentless Kansans! But do I sound enough like Christ to be called one of His? I sure hope so, but don't think I do a lot of the time. Thanks so for these wonderful words of wisdom.

December 11, 2008 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

That is my goal. Great analogy, one worthy of pondering.

December 12, 2008 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

I get the same response. Funny how we become a novelty when outside of our culture.

Great post! And a great reminder of our actions and attitudes during this busy and hectic time.

December 12, 2008 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Live in Georgia too, though born in Tennessee, so I've got the Tennessee/Georgia accent going on....

Now I live in the Blue Ridge mountains, (Appalachain mountains) I heard "you'uns" and "Santy"... it's a whole other world up here.

Great post.

December 12, 2008 at 6:18 PM  

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