Though many strides have been made to make the world a more inclusive place, it still remains considerably divisive. In our country, the issues of race continue to produce sensitive debate, often turning people who would otherwise be friends, into stark enemies. When you search through the annals of history, however, it becomes clear that this separatist mindset has been prevalent throughout human existence. It’s the reason men have sought superiority through tribes, clubs and class. Yet this practice is not exclusive to the secular world; unfortunately, the Church was smitten with this counterproductive mentality early on. Acts Chapter 10 provides us with a great example.
Peter had become the most revered apostle to carry the message of Jesus Christ during the expansion of the early church. But he had grown comfortable sharing this message only with fellow Jews. So when Cornelius, a Gentile, summoned Peter to his home to hear the proclaimed Good News, a tough decision had to be made. During that period, it was a violation against religious law for Jews to visit or even associate with Gentiles. Despite this, Peter forsook tradition and proceeded to minister to Cornelius and a host of other non-Jews.
His words in verses 34 and 35 are poignant, explaining the true essence of the Word. He states, “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis. Whoever fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him, no matter what race he belongs to.” Even still, there were many Jews who were displeased with Peter’s actions, citing that he shared the message of Christ with undeserving people. But thank God that His Word contains no prejudice. It is for every man and woman with open ears and a receptive heart. We should adopt this same approach when it comes to social matters as well so that we may push past petty differences that continue to stunt human progress. Perhaps we may also realize that though we come from a variety of cultures, creeds and backgrounds, we share many more similarities than differences. In essence, we are all people in need of a Savior who showed His love for us by making His message available to anyone willing to listen and obey.