If you are obedient to God and include all people in your sphere of influence, regardless of who they are and what they have done, you will be criticized by those who still don’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do. And those who criticize you may be a part of your community of believers.
Acts chapter 10
begins with Peter being partial to those of his own race and belief system. The chapter concludes with Peter obeying God and making those outside of his own race and belief system a part of his sphere of influence. He does not condemn them or judge them; he simply associates with them and points them to Jesus. As he does this, the Holy Spirit does the rest. Acts chapter 11
begins with Peter being criticized by those in his community of believers for including those who were different.
Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, "You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them."
(Act 11:1-3 ESV)
Peter was criticized for obeying God and including those in his sphere of influence who were different. You would think that those in his community of believers would be rejoicing over his obedience to God, but they were not. Instead, they were upset. They just didn’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do.
Take a moment and consider who you have included in your sphere of influence. Are they different from you? Or are they just like you? There are a lot of people in our day who go to church, but only include people who are like them. Most churches are segregated and do not fairly represent the racial diversity of God’s Kingdom.
There are those in our day who only include people who:
- Vote like they do belonging to the same political party
- Are of the same faith
- Are of the same denomination
- Have the same color of skin
- Are of the same economic status
- Have the same sexual orientation
They exclude others who are different than they. I feel sorry for these people because they just don’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do. There is hope for these people though. If God could change Peter, God can change them. That is what gives me great hope for change in our day.
Beloved, I encourage you today to look at all people through the eyes of Christ. Christ died for all people. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have become, God loves them as much as He loves you. Don’t try to change people and make them just like you. Instead, obey the direction of the Holy Spirit. He will broaden your sphere of influence and speak God messages through you. He will do the rest. When criticism comes from those who don’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do, you will know that you are right on course as a Christ follower.
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Know that you are loved,