But the LORD said to Samuel, “Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven’t selected him. God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the LORD sees into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16-7 CEB)
Have you ever been denied a request or refused service because of the color of your sin?
Have you ever been a victim of discrimination because of your ethnic background?
Some people may not agree when I make this statement,… WE ARE ALL PREJUDICE.
We tend to look at people and judge them before knowing anything about them.
We judge them because of their…LIFESTYLE, APPEARANCE, EDUCATION, CHARACTER, FAITH, POSSESSIONS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, RACE, ETHNICITY, … and much more.
It happening whether you realize it or not.
A good example is this great wall Donald Trump plans to build on the U.S/Mexico border.
What’s the driving force behind his decision?
He convinced himself into believing he’s doing it because Mexicans are bringing crime, rapists and drugs into the United States.
People we are experts at deceiving ourselves and rationalizing any situation that pleases the desire of our heat.
“Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed.” Jeremiah 17:9 GNB
Humans are plagued with a sick heart that harbor varying degrees of prejudice.
For instance before I was saved I was prejudice towards Christians.
I didn’t believe anything they said because the way I knew some lived.
When I was out there living in sin back in the 80’s I would meet women in the club and some took me home that night with them.
The next morning they would tell me I have to leave because they’re going to church.
In time I developed a perception that Christians are fake and live two lives.
Today I see Christians differently.
Jesus took the plank out my eye so I could see clearly that all Christians are in the same boat.
Trying their best to stay above water one day at a time or sometimes one moment at a time to keep from drowning in sin.
Regardless of how much time we commit to praying and studying God’s Word.
We will always carry sin with us and we will always need Jesus help to overcome it.
How about you?
What are some of your prejudices?
Growing up who were you told not to associate with?
What kind of walls are you building between yourself and others at work and in your neighborhood?
RACIAL,.. MORAL,.. RELIGIOUS,.. POLITICAL,.. ECONOMIC,.?
“Everyone was treated on an equal basis, no matter what colors, religions or races; we weren’t affright to show our faces, it was cool to chill in foreign places…IT WAS A DREAM!” (RUN-D.M.C.)
I remember in my teen years walking through the house singing this quote from RUN-DMC’s song ‘Wake Up’ and my mother hearing me.
She said RUN-DMC and Martin Luther King Jr. aren’t the only two with dreams of a good world.
It’s part of God’s plan that we all be treated equally she reminded me every time she heard me singing it which was everyday.
She mentioned the saving power of Jesus is for everyone regardless of race or background.
Which reminds me of the story in Acts 10 about a revelation made to Peter.
Peter, a Jewish Christian, fell into a trance and had a vision about unclean animals descending from heaven on a sheet and he heard a voice telling him to kill and eat them.
Peter refused because it was against Jewish tradition to eat what was considered unclean animals.
Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
“Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied.
“I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
THE voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. (Acts 10:13-16 NIV)
The reason God sent this vision to Peter was to reveal his hidden prejudices.
Like Peter some of us are blind to our prejudices until God open our eyes to them.
It’s important to understand not only certain animals were considered unclean.
In the same way, certain people were religiously unclean and unacceptable– in particular the Gentiles.
The unclean animals Peter visioned represent the unclean Gentiles.
He was being challenged about what was now to be accepted in God’s eyes.
He was in the process of having a spiritual awakening…Wake up.
CARRYING THE GOOD NEWS
Meanwhile there was a God-fearing unclean Gentile name Cornelius up town in Caesarea. (Acts 10:1-8)
An angle had spoken to him earlier in a vision also telling him to send some of his men to Joppa to bring back Peter.
God plan was for Peter to carry the Good News to the Gentiles so they could be saved.
Although Cornelius was God-fearing, prayed regularly and gave to the poor, he was not a Christian.
He was just a very religious man.
God looks at the heart and reaches out to those who want to know Him better. (1 Samuel 16:7)
There is only one way to salvation and that is from God’s grace by faith in Jesus Christ.
Immediately after Peter’s vision the Holy Spirit told him there are three men downstairs looking for him and he is to follow them.
Cornelius’ men had arrived.
What if it’s God’s will for you to preach the gospel to a homosexual?
Could you still carry God’s message knowing what the bible says about that lifestyle? (Leviticus 18:22)
Remember it’s the sin God don’t accept not the person so we should have this same attitude.
One good attitude to have is OPEN-MINDNESS (1).
Peter was close-minded because the vision was repeated three times.
When God wants to use you there are things you must learn, unlearn and relearn.
This can be hard to accept especially if you have strict religious beliefs like Peter.
Peter followed the men and what happens next teaches us not to put limits on God.
WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY
They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Cornelius was waiting for him and had called together his relatives and close friends to meet Peter. As Peter entered his home, Cornelius fell to the floor before him in worship. But Peter pulled him up and said, “Stand up! I’m a human being like you!” (Acts 10:24-27 NLT)
The great apostle Peter practice HUMILITY (2) when he pulled Cornelius up from the floor and said that he’s human just like Cornelius is.
The only way for God to use you is for you to see yourself equal to others.
So you can’t be afraid to touch and talk to people you consider unclean or unacceptable.
Sometimes all it takes is a hug or a touch from you that give someone their first experience of God’s love.
Peter told them, “You know it is against the Jewish laws for me to come into a Gentile home like this. But God has shown me that I should never think of anyone as impure. So I came as soon as I was sent for. Now tell me why you sent me.” (Acts 10:28-29 NLT)
Peter practice HONESTY (3) by telling them it’s against his religion to be in Cornelius house.
Honesty is the antidote to the disease of religion.
He was WILLING (4) to go where the Holy Spirit told him to go and was WILLING (4) to break the rules.
A lot of times you just have to go without trying to understand why and what the Spirit is telling you.
Most of your understanding will come from looking back once you have been obedient.
IF GOD SAYS SOMETHING IS ACCEPTABLE
The Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God doesn’t show partiality. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34-35 NLT)
This story shows that all people, Jews, Gentiles, alike are on equal terms before God.
When God looks down from heaven He sees just one race–the human race.
Like Peter we have to get out of our comfort zone and ACCEPT (5) what God say it acceptable.
To follow Christ we have to guard ourselves against prejudice so God can spread the Good News through us to the the world.
WHAT KIND OF PERSON WOULD I HAVE THE MOST TROUBLE GOING TO IF GOD ASKED ME TO GO TO THEIR HOUSE?
IF GOD GAVE ME A VISION ABOUT MY ATTITUDES TOWARD OTHER PEOPLE WHAT WOULD HE TELL ME?