As we kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked Dr. Juan Sanchez about how people outside of the Hispanic community can better understand their Hispanic brothers and sisters in Christ. Dr. Juan Sanchez is Senior Pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
I was someone who was born in Puerto Rico, who didn’t know any English words, and we moved to the United States when I was almost eight years old. My dad moved us to Florida because of difficulties that we were having there as a family and him being involved in politics.
And I have to confess, it was a tremendous challenge moving to a country, even though I was a US citizen, born a US citizen. But moving to a place where there was a different culture, a different language, having to learn English from scratch, trying to fit in every way that I could, trying to identify with professional sports teams like my American peers, or just trying to have the same fashions. It was very difficult.
What I would like to communicate with my brothers and sisters in Christ here in the United States, particularly those who are Anglo and in the majority culture, is you don’t have to think a lot about these things, but many of us who come from other places and people who are in the minority cultures, we have to think about how to navigate in your world pretty much all the time.
One of the encouragements I would offer is to realize that each of us, you and me, are created as unique individuals in the image and likeness of God. And so the bottom line, we share the same human needs. We are human persons, male and female, but we need to treat one another with that dignity of image of God.
But also understand, in the same way that we wouldn’t say all people of the majority culture are the same. They like the same foods. There’s a great diversity among the Anglo culture. But likewise there’s a great diversity among the Hispanic cultures. And so we have different foods. Even our Spanish is different in nuances and we sometimes switch different words.
The greatest encouragement I can offer is to look at people as individuals created in the image of God and to treat them with that dignity.
But what you also need to understand is, as brother and sisters in Christ, we have more in common with one another, with people who don’t even speak our language, than we do with our own blood-kin, our family members in our own households who are not believers. We have more in common with a believer who has come out of the Muslim faith in the Middle East than our American neighbor down the road who has an American flag waving in front of their house.
We are brothers and sisters in Christ and the ascended Christ has structured His church to gather a multi-ethnic assembly. And this multi-ethnic assembly as we gather in local churches, we’re to display the manifold wisdom of God to the cosmic powers as we live life together as a church. So there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing brothers and sisters in Christ coming around the Lord’s table together saying, “We’re family. We’re brothers and sisters in Christ.”
As a church and as Christians here in the United States, our mission is to see all peoples become wholehearted followers of Jesus Christ. We’re to go everywhere without discrimination calling all peoples everywhere to repent and believe and to the Lord Jesus Christ.
And so regardless of what government they came out of, regardless of what government we’re in. You know, the United States is a very young nation. We need to understand that, should the Lord tarry, we need to continue doing the same thing and that is sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples that they may come to faith in Christ and be incorporated into the body of Christ so that together we would display the manifold wisdom of God.
Want to see more from Juan Sanchez? Check out his other LifeWay Voices posts.