Acts 10:28 “And Peter said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.” (NIV)
It was a turning point in Peter’s ministry. He thought that his mission for Christ was to be narrowly focused on his own people, but God showed him dramatically in a vision that the Gospel Peter was preaching was for everyone. It was a remarkable event in Peter’s life, so when folks approached him on behalf of an outsider – Cornelius – the Big Fisherman knew that God was calling him to bring Christ’s message of salvation and grace to those who were least like him. As Peter confessed at that time, “God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.”
In our current divided and fragmented society, it’s very easy to think of others who have different opinions, ideas, and lifestyles as being subhuman, wicked, and unworthy of our prayers, compassion, or care. It’s far easier to put people in biased boxes so that we can ignore them completely. Giving them labels allows us discount their situations and disregard their grievances. We can even force them to live in ghettoes or lock them up in cages in order to get rid of the annoyance of having to deal with their problems. However, in doing that we set aside the Gospel of grace and disrespect what God has shown – that we should not call anyone profane or unclean.
On Wednesday nights, our wee church is actively attempting to reach a turning point with our BridgeBuilders program. We want to learn from others what damage has been done to them by racism and prejudice, biased systems and manipulation. The discussions we are having are not easy to hear, but the only way to bridge the gaps that we have created or allowed is to actively listen to what people of color, creed, or orientation have to say. By doing this, we hope to reach a point where we will call no one profane or unclean. We will see them as the Lord does: children of God in need of love and grace.
Point to ponder: Who am I prejudiced against? How does God see them?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, being a Christian is never easy because You challenge us on so many different levels. We justify our biased ways and validate our judgment of others. Forgive us for being morally profane and spiritually unclean. Heal us of our blindness and open our hearts to embrace all of God’s children. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
Today’s image is one of John’s drawings called “A New Earth.” If you would like to view a larger version, just click here.