Acts 10:34-35 (Amplified Bible) “…Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he who venerates and has a reverential fear for God, treating Him with worshipful obedience and living uprightly, is acceptable to Him and sure of being received and welcomed [by Him].”
We live in a world divided for centuries by nationality, class, culture, and ethnicity. Something as beautifully complex as the syntax and vocabulary that embodies the articulate thought of a tribe or region, or as innocuous as melanin in a person’s skin (controlled by the capricious arrangement of DNA), has been used by the kingdom of darkness to separate people. As times change, the enemy seems to find new ways to fragment the world’s inhabitants. However, God’s perspective is totally different than that of the world we live in. In the Book of Acts, the Apostle Peter defines the one characteristic that God values in His followers – obedience. God does not see the fine lines and barriers that cultures and nations erect to delineate and divide each other. He does not care what nation we hail from, what political party we belong to, about our pedigree and breeding, or the size of our bank account. God truly shows no favoritism, but extends His love, grace and kindness to all mankind. According to Hebrews 2:9 (NIV), Jesus surrendered his life, “so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone”. Jesus unreservedly “offers salvation to all people” (Titus 2:11 – NIV), without partiality.
Jesus has established one church where people all nations can worship together as “one body to reconcile… them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Ephesians 2:16 – NIV). At the foot of the cross is where the cumbersome burdens of this world like hatred, division, and intolerance should be surrendered, and where love for our fellowman takes root in our hearts. Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment while on earth, which was to love one another. In fact, Jesus stated at John 13:34, 35 (NIV) that “by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. The love and charity that we are commissioned to extend to the world, first begins with our fellow believers. Love for our fellow Christians is about inclusion, not exclusion or judgment.
In God’s house every nation and class of people are invited to worship, and our love should not be limited strictly to those who think, act, dress, or look like we do. Love for our fellowman should move us beyond lip service, to engaging in tangible actions that express our genuine love toward others. Some ways that we can express love for others, connect beyond the surface level of fellowship, spread the Gospel of Jesus, and become united both in faith and spirit are:
1. Getting out of your comfort zone
Get involved in outreaches that push the boundaries of your comfort zone (economically and/or culturally diverse outreaches), to express the love of God in new ways!
2. Going fearlessly where & to whom you’re called
Engaging in street ministry, volunteering at a women’s shelter, or reaching out to people of different religious backgrounds within the community, are all examples of how we can fearlessly apply the love of God in practical ways, and share the Gospel of Jesus whenever we have the opportunity.
By: Lisa Stafford- Johnson