How Identity Influences Your Perception of Truth

(Unsplash/Banjo Emerson)

In 2019, there were more face masks worn by doctors in hospitals than by Christmas shoppers in stores. New York City was the city that never sleeps. Black Lives Matter Plaza was 16th Street Northwest, and the names Breana Taylor and George Floyd were not known by nearly every American. We have experienced a lot in 2020.

The experiences of our lives often define us. Some people define themselves according to the failures of the past. Some see their lives as the result of their own achievement or success. For many, it is what has happened to them that becomes the defining factor in who they become. Identity is formed through the experiences of yesterday and affects the way we experience tomorrow. Put simply, who you are affects what you see. None of us are a clean canvas waiting for the experiences of tomorrow to be painted on. Tomorrow is painted on the backdrop of yesterday. It is not a new picture but another piece in an already unfolding picture of our lives. Identity is powerful, and political operatives know this.

Identity politics is the leveraging of shared life experiences to further political agendas deemed beneficial to the whole. My questions are, "Who gets to be part of the whole?" and "Who is painting this picture anyway?" The shared life experiences that bring us closer to some, at the same time, separate us from those whose experiences we cannot relate to in a real way. Good or bad, identity politics brings together like "pictures" into one mosaic. The result is painting an entire group with one large brush. It is an effective political tool to further a cause, tailor a campaign to a particular voting bloc or label the opposition.

In the kingdom of God, our identity is not the sum total of our success or failures and what happens to you does not determine who you are. I am who He says I am. Who I am as His child affects what I see, and my truth never outweighs His truth. We are His masterpiece and a work in progress.

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Carrington Adkins has served in ministry for nearly three decades. A "jack-of-all-trades," his areas of leadership experience includes church-planting, worship, missionary projects and travel photography. Ordained into ministry after college, Carrington went on to assist with church plants in Raleigh, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia; including his own 30-member home church. He then was appointed director over Wellington Boone Ministries where he served in full-time ministry for nearly four years. Carrington currently serves as an elder and worship leader at Kingdom Life Ministries (klmdc.org) in D.C.

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