Talking things over, they went on into the house, where Cornelius introduced Peter to everyone who had come. Peter addressed them, “You know, I’m sure that this is highly irregular. Jews just don’t do this—visit and relax with people of another race. But God has just shown me that no race is better than any other. So the minute I was sent for, I came, no questions asked. Acts 10:27-29 (The Message)
Personality? Temperament? Nature? Nurture? Birth Order? I’m never quite sure why I react or respond like I do. There are some things in my life that once they are set, I don’t want to change — moving furniture around in a room, as an example. But don’t ask me about hair dressers.
Mark could wear and buy the same blue shirt every time. I’m all about color, style, comfort, uniqueness — never the same thing twice. Ask him about learning to drive the streets in California after he first moved there. He never knew which was was home because I never drove home the same way. (Now there is only one way in and one way out.)
I like to change it up. Variety adds spice to my life. Yet, I was raised in a very rigid home and church. Rules were the rules. And as a firstborn, I followed them all.
The apostle, Peter, was also used to following rules but God had other plans for him. It took three times, with the same vision, for Peter to understand that God had something important for him to do, different from his usual. He listened and obeyed with great results for the Kingdom.
The Christian community in Charleston is suffering and mourning as a result of one man being rigid and hateful. Isn’t it interesting that God’s name, grace, forgiveness, love and mercy are all over the TV right now?
Tolerance has been redefined to mean that we leave God out of our lexicon or a lawsuit is on the horizon. Forgiveness? Not! On our own, it’s impossible. We want justice—or maybe revenge. Love doesn’t even enter our minds. But in this time of tragedy, God is the source of comfort and, more importantly, forgiveness.
Commentators and pundits are amazed at the forgiveness offered by the Christian families of those lost. What they don’t understand is that it’s God’s love within a person that allows and offers forgiveness. Have you discovered God’s unfailing love for you?
As believers, let’s change it up and show our neighbor what this God-love is all about.
I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (The Message)