Acts 10: That Avoid Favoritism Scripture… 02SEP
Peter spoke of a great vision in Acts 10, details give us strong imagery…. So often we also get strong images, get a lightning bolt of scripture even populating our brains. This happened to me with the favoritism scripture… The Acts 10 story about Peter reminds us we are not supposed to show favoritism in whom we share faith with, be with, share with and especially not show favoritism in extending grace and forgiveness!!!!
I want to share the time when God sent a lightning bolt of scripture into my head, no denying that God’s Word comes to help us – and this time forced me to listen… we have a powerful GOD! We are under HIS wing…
I had these beautiful handmade cards made by a woman at church for me to send special people, and I was going to hold them back for certain people… So one day, instead of sending one nice card to a woman whom comes randomly twice a year to our church (for many reasons I am not so certain are spiritual), I thought I could just send a plain old card because who knows if she would really appreciate it… Then just like a lightning bolt, the James scripture about favoritism shot immediately to the front of my brain… Yeah, I apologized to God, and I sent a most beautiful scriptural card to her, how dare I show favoritism…
One of my dear friends always says: “don’t judge people who sin differently than you do”…
The “favoritism forbidden” scripture in James pertains to how we forgive people!!! Who are we to show favoritism in our forgiveness???… “Love your neighbor as yourself”!!! Yes, love and forgive all God’s children… That’s tough sometimes, so we ask the HOLY SPIRIT to move us into compassion and ask Jesus’s love to intervene. We ask to be emptied of our begrudging ways, our focus on our needs… It’s mercy we need to show, no matter how much it hurts… This can be tough to do, but it’s the right thing to do…
If we have an interest in faith building, then we are to not tear down the foundation… If we have an interest in sharing the Word, then we must let the Word shine thru us. We always can try to be like Peter and even in uncomfortable new situations, understand that the Lord wants us to be with believers and pre-believers as God needs us to be.
They have received the Holy Spirit just as much as we have.
We can drop favoritism and focus on faith…
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.