There it was again!
In his curio cabinet were wooden, crystal and ceramic pineapples. On the bookshelf, on an end table, and framing a mirror-pineapples! The covers on the light switch and the doorbell had a pineapple design. Even the necktie he was wearing had a pineapple design!
I was being welcomed into the home of my wife’s godparents. My wife did a portion of her dental training in a city in the eastern United States and upon arriving there, met an older couple, also from the Philippines. They immediately bonded and graciously adopted my wife as their own daughter, looking after her and becoming her surrogate family. Now, many years later, I was being introduced to this loving couple to whom we affectionately referred to as Tito Jake and Tita Sally.
“Tito Jake!” I exclaimed. “Why so many pineapples?”
“When I first arrived in the United States, I was teased a lot. People would call me all kinds of names but the one that most people called me was Pineapple! They thought I was from Hawaii even though I was from the Philippines. ‘Hey Pineapple!’ they would say. At first, I was upset but then I looked it up. Pineapples are the symbol of hospitality. So I thought, why not? I welcomed others calling me that and I began to make the pineapple my own. I decorated our home and my office with pineapples. If someone called me ‘Pineapple’ I said, “Thank you!’ “
Tito Jake was able to take a racist slur that was directed at him, turn it, and make it a positive statement about himself. I admired his ingenuity and willingness to roll with the ugliness that life sometimes presents to us. I don’t know if I could have done the same. For many years, I struggled with racial slurs that were hurled at me. I attempted to ignore or laugh them off but the experiences would always return. Sure, sticks and stones, but names do sometimes hurt, even more than physical attacks.
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
Ephesians 2:14 (NLT)
Accepting and following Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is the highest standard of ethical and moral behavior that anyone can attain on this earth. In Jesus Christ, there are no races, cultures, nations, or even pineapples. Why should we bother with such labels? We are all united through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is His power over life and death that allows us to overcome racial prejudices and begin to heal centuries of hostility that have separated many groups of people. Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior for every person on this earth. All of mankind finds its unity in Him.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.