Wrong For All The Right Reasons
“Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” -Jesus
Acts of the Apostles 10:15 NLT
Peter’s prayer time was interrupted with an “Amber Alert” from heaven. Someone named Cornelius was lost and needed to be saved. There was only one problem- Cornelius was an outsider, a Gentile.
The Jew vs. Gentile tension was deep, but not intrinsically born out of hatred or racism. It was a matter of Jewish laws regarding holiness and separation.
The Jewish people rightly discerned that they were chosen of God, divinely favored, and special in God’s eyes. However, their view of being favored blinded them to the fact that God’s love and favor was not limited to the Jews. God has always loved the world- every tribe, every tongue, every person – saint and sinner.
For Peter, it was not about separation from Gentiles, but separation unto God. He wasn’t driven by hate, but by holiness. Still, his lines of holiness were drawn in the wrong places, so Jesus called a meeting.
I’m not sure what it was about Peter and the number “3” – but 3 denials of Jesus and 3 “Do you love me‘s” from Jesus were now followed by 3 visions from Jesus, along with a clear message: “Peter, your lines are drawn for all the right reasons, but in all the wrong places.”
Sometimes a sincere (but misplaced) desire for holiness can actually hinder one’s ability to minister to people, especially outsiders. Although standards of holiness are right, Jesus often wants us to press beyond our invisible lines in order to reach outsiders. This is not about compromise; it’s about compassion.
- Am I separating myself from any person/group that Jesus wants me to draw close to?
- Am I willing to minister to people at the cost of being criticized?
- Am I listening to and obeying Jesus when it comes to reaching lost people?
Jesus- if my lines of holiness are misplaced and hindering me from reaching people, I welcome Your interruption into my life. Show me how You see people, so that I can see them as You do.