Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC

Acts 10: 9-16
9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

It wasn’t until 2011, when my brother Jonathan was born, that I truly understood racism. I knew the textbook definition and I could give examples from history but it was through Jonathan’s birth that I learned to truly understand racism at its core. Jonathan was adopted and he is biracial. He looks different than the other members of our white family and there is no hiding that fact. And while he is treated no differently within the context of our immediate family, there have been times I have witnessed others outside of our family act unjustly towards him simply because of the color of his skin. Where in our home he is loved and valued, outside its walls I have heard dehumanizing phrases spoken to him and about him because of the skin that he wears.   

To know Jonathan is to love him. Unfortunately there have been a handful of people that have chosen not to get to know him. I believe many of the individuals who have acted so unjustly towards Jonathan did so because they are a product of their raising. Systematic racial stereotypes exist because they have been passed on from generation to generation. 

Peter also was a product of his raising. Peter was always taught, as a good Jewish boy, he was to stay away from unclean animals, and “unclean people.” In other words, anyone not a Jew. In a vision from the Lord however, everything Peter had ever been taught was brought into question. When the sheet came down and a voice said, “Rise… kill and eat.”, Peter’s immediate response was, “By no means, Lord!” But the voice persisted that what God had made clean was not to be considered uncommon. Later in verse 34 Peter makes the connection to non-Jews. God used a simple vision to work on Peter’s heart. This heart change moved Peter to share the good news of Jesus with Gentiles, something in vast contradiction from his raising. Verses 34-35 state, “So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”

There is a lot of division in the world today, but there is no division for those of us that believe in Jesus! The world may tell us all the ways in which we are different but the Word of God assures us that through Jesus Christ we are unified! The veil has been torn open, the walls have come down. The good news of the gospel is for ALL people!

I challenge you today, pray and seek out the walls  in your own life.  Ask God to change your attitude towards others whom you find yourself around. Ask for boldness and step out in faith. And remember, there is no partiality. And that’s some pretty great news! 

Heavenly Father, open my eyes to others around me that desperately need to know you! Strip me of my biases and change my attitude towards others and help me step out boldly in faith to share the gospel with a lost world. In Jesus name, amen!

2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”