Acts 10:28 “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
People with limited vision see people as the ‘haves,’ and the ‘have nots.’ We separate to those who have what we have and those who don’t. Sadly, that mentality has crept into our churches.
There is a level of separation we are to keep that is biblical. But that does not mean that we separate from those needing the gospel.
Peter thought to keep his distance from everyone except the Jews. God prepared Cornelius and arranged for him to call Peter to visit.
With this visit, God reveals the need for us to go beyond our comfortability to reach those in need.
It happens that when we receive the truth and find salvation, we look at others differently. That difference or line of demarkation is sin. There are some sins we think more minor and others we abhor. It may be that we separate over culture, or religion, or political views.
Thank God we are all unique and not the same!
Each of us harbors some form of prejudice, preference, or opinion about certain people groups. Their sin is different from ours. We may have been hurt by some whose sin touched our lives.
The level of grace we choose to apply will draw the line by which we separate.
Acts 10:34-35 “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
God revealed to Peter’s heart that all men are to be received as worthy of hearing the gospel’s good news.
But how does that apply to us today?
The depths and depravity of sin are paraded before us in every way imaginable. We are called “haters” because we remind them of God’s view of their sin. But, if we do not speak the truth IN LOVE, we are haters.
The bible and the truth contained therein are not to be used as a weapon but as a door to see God as He really is.
We are not alone in this struggle. King David wrote of this hatred he had for those who hated God.
Psalm 139:19-22 “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”
David voiced his anger and hatred of those who opposed God wickedly. He was open and expressed to all who heard how he felt and how he thought they should be treated. But, we cannot miss the following verses, for, in them, we find the heart that is humble and submits to God’s will over his own.
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.“
Any thought of prejudice, preference, or opinion toward any other human being ought to be brought under the scrutiny of God’s Word.
If John 3:16 tells that God so loved the world, it cannot be the world only we accept, but the whole world and all that is in that world. As God loves the world, we are to love it as He does.
But not in the capacity of love we possess, but in His love.
Can we view those we hate or whose sin we abhor as a soul for whom Christ died and in need of the gospel like we were?
I am challenged daily with those thoughts. Knowing, too, that Satan is behind the division it causes makes me want to reach out and love them more.
What will you do with the prejudice you harbor? Can we look beyond the wall that separates us and reach out to them in love?
We are commanded to do so.
Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”