by Dorette Saunders
We Christians can be snobbish. When Simon Peter preached God’s Word to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people) and they “accepted God’s message,” (Acts 11:1) several Jewish believers were angry with him that he mingled with people who were not circumcised (a custom that was practiced as a sign of the covenant between the Jewish people and God). Their accusatory tone was not lost on Peter. “You stayed in the homes of Gentiles, and you even ate with them!” (v.3) they argued.
Have you ever experienced similar snobbish attitudes from church folk, family, or co-workers when you “mingled” with others whom they believed were beneath you? Or different from you?
“Oh, she’s Catholic/Pentecostal/Jewish/black. Why would you hang out with her?”
Or, “He’s Asian/Latino/African/white. Why would you include “those” people in our lunch plans?
Or perhaps your coworkers have chided you with, “You shouldn’t engage with workers in the mailroom, or the factory, or the housekeeping staff.”
These behaviors are not only divisive, but they are a far cry from what Jesus expects of us as Christians.
As we read the account that led to Peter sharing the gospel with those who were not of the Jewish faith (Acts 1:1-11), we find that God welcomes all people. The gospel of Jesus Christ is that which levels the playing field. It can unite us, no matter our ethnic, social or religious background.
Indeed, God has imminent domain over our lives. He can knock down walls of confused exclusivity and make “plenty good room” for the peace that comes to us when we make Jesus Lord of our lives.
Are there people with whom you would never share the gospel simply because they are of a different faith, sexual orientation, or speak a different language? Think about it. The Good News is not for you only, but for all people! So go ahead and share!
When Peter shared the gospel, not only did the Gentiles get saved, but they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, just as the Jewish believers did, on the day of Pentecost.
We must be careful not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think (Romans 12:3), or assume we have a monopoly on the Word of God. The Scriptures tell us that the Word of God is “alive and powerful! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts” (Hebrew 4:12, CEV). So, we share the Word with others and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.
Look around you for opportunities to include others, who people sometimes exclude, in fellowship, study, worship. You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make in your life and theirs!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you are always looking out for those who are poor, lonely, marginalized, “other.” Help us to seek them out and share your glorious gospel of salvation with them. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.