An Ethiopian Swimmer

Did you hear that Almaze Ayana just set the world record in the women’s 10,000 meters at Rio 2016 Olympics, winning gold and beating the 23 year old record by 14 seconds? Fantastic news!

Congratulations to her, her family and friends and to all of us Ethiopians! It feels really good.

Why does this news feel good to me? Duh! I’m from Ethiopia! And I don’t only feel good when I hear good news like this one, but I feel really down when I hear not so good news about Ethiopians, too.

For example, after the news went viral about an Ethiopian swimmer, I lost interest to be on social media just so I could avoid watching those video clips of American comedians’ who make jokes, making fun of the Ethiopian swimmer. The interview this swimmer gave to one newscaster is the most painful part of the whole story for me.

I mean, I know there is what is called losing as there is winning in the world of competition, but coming to the Olympics without being physically conditioned is something else. Okay, there might be another side of the story to this news that I’m not aware of, but I still struggle to make any sense out of the whole thing.

While I was driving this morning, thinking why I couldn’t just forget the news and move on with my life, something dawned on me.

Yes, I belong to Ethiopia and anything that happens to Ethiopia and/or Ethiopians affects me, but I also belong to the New City that is coming from heaven. I belong to the New Jerusalem whose King is Jesus Christ. Everyone who belongs to this New City is my brother and my sister. Any news about a brother or a sister who belongs to this city hits very close to home.

So, as Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, we always need to remember that each one of us represents the whole body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27) and each one of us also represents our God (2 Cor. 5:20). Whatever we choose to do with our life, whether it is good or bad, affects everyone who belongs to Christ and the name of God.

When we walk in the way that is appropriate to our call, we glorify God and bring honor and respect to other believers. And God said, “Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.” (1 Samuel 2:30b)

Sure, we all have our share of messing up our lives, suffering the consequences, and bringing pain and suffering to the body of Christ, but as much as we can, we all have to strive to live in a way that brings glory to our God, Jesus Christ, and honor and respect to our brothers and sisters in Christ. If there is some hidden sin, especially sexual sin, that we are harboring in our lives, let’s deal with it before our sin finds us, puts us in public, defames the name of our God, and takes away the confidence our brothers and sisters have in Christ. ///

“We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.