I grew up in a bi-racial family… typing that sounds weird to me because I never saw my family that way. After my parents divorced my mom later remarried and my dad, technically my step-dad, just happened to be half Cherokee and half Mexican…but fully my dad.
I never saw him as different from me.
Sure there were the occasional jokes growing up when friends first met us. We’d always laugh and say, “Don’t you see the family resemblance? We have the same smile!”
I guess I learned at an early age that when you love someone, you look past the color of their skin and instead look at their hearts.
My elementary years were spent as an Air Force brat and mainly living on two different military bases, Grissom Air Force base located in Indiana and Travis Air Force Base located in California.
From an early age I grew up with friends who had an array of beautiful skin colors and backgrounds and I LOVED it! It’s amazing to look back on my life and see how God, at an early age, put the love and desire for people around the world in my heart!
Because of my background I grew up with an awareness that we are all really the same, even if we look different on the outside.
We all want to be loved.
We all want our lives to matter.
We all want someone to love.
We all want to be known… and accepted.
We each struggle with fear, disappointments, and heartbreak.
We ALL struggle with sin.
AND we ALL need a SAVIOR!
In our passage today, Peter knows this truth too.
Though he was raised an orthodox Jew, we see in Acts 15 where Peter stands up for the Gentile Christians stating that both Jews and Gentiles are saved through faith, not works. Yet here in Galatians chapter 2, we see Peter reacting out of fear of what the other Jewish Christians would think of him for sitting and eating with the Gentiles.
When our decisions are based on fears of what others will think of us, we need to turn our focus back to Christ.
We live for an audience of One.
Racial prejudices and injustices have been around well before Peter’s day and certainly are something we still struggle with here in our own.
But as Christians, we are called to be different.
We are not to value another’s worth like the world does.
We have Christ and we have the gospel – that’s what makes the difference!
Now as Christians, our role in our neighborhoods, towns, states and world is to be bridges uniting segregated groups.
Part of de-masking prejudice is actually getting to personally know the ones we are prejudice against.
And like it or not, I guarantee we are all prejudice against some type of people group. Prejudice isn’t always about a person’s skin color.
“Peter was a Jew, but through his faith in Christ he had become a Christian. Because he was a Christian, he was part of the church, and in the church there are no racial distinctions (Gal. 3:28).”- Warren Wiersbe
Friends, we live in an amazing time to LIVE the gospel out in our lives. There are people in our lives who need to know they matter and are dearly loved.
Let’s not make the mistake Peter did and lead friends and family members astray. Let’s show them the beauty of the gospel at work in our lives!
Let’s be intentional in reaching out to others who are not like us.
Let’s be intentional with our friendships, moving out of our comfort zones and seeing ourselves as bridge builders.
“We politely sit by ‘those other people’ in church, but we won’t ‘eat’ with them; we won’t really become friends with them. We won’t socialize with them, sharing our lives and homes and things with them. We will keep relationships formal and see them at official church meetings only.
All this comes from not living in line with the gospel. Without the gospel, our hearts have to manufacture self-esteem by comparing our group with other groups. But the gospel tells us we are all unclean without Christ, and all clean in Him.” Tim Keller
Ohhh friends, may God use us to be bridge builders in a hurting world that desperately needs to see the gospel lived out in our lives!
Let’s not waste another day and live in fear like Peter… for we live “for such a time as this!”
What steps can you take today to be a bridge builder in your community? Not sure? Ask God to place someone in your life so you can!
Are you already a bridge builder? If so, we’d LOVE to hear what steps you are taking to be intentional in reaching out and living life with others who appear to be different from you!
Love God Greatly!
As I just thought about it and God laid something in my heart. There is this rift between elderly Christians and the younger Christians. I don’t know how to start but I know God with give me wisdom. And I also need suggestions please from everyone. God’s blessings.
In our church, people of all ages serve in various ministries which gives us a chance to interact and get to know more of one another’s lives. We also are big on small groups which mix all kinds of people studying Gods word together in a more intimate environment, fostering connection…we are known and get to know others. Hope you an initia te something in your church!
At our church, we have a ministry Adopt a Senior. Every elderly person is paired with a younger member and they spend at on Saturday a month with each other. Whether it’s a movie or lunch or just spending the day helping around the house. It gives each generation a chance to talk and this is how we get to know each other. It’s a start.
Wanda, I think that is a wonderful service your church is providing. We should care for our older generation and value them much more than we currently so in the US. Older people struggle so much with loneliness. What a great idea. I will suggest this as a service program for my church when I get the chance.
I will be praying for you as you seek God’s Wisdom. Always remember James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” I hope you have a great day Ebos. (Jennifer, LGG Encourager)
We did a mentorship program a few years ago at my church. We were paired with another lady for a period of 6 months. The “mentor” was often an older lady and it was her responsibility to initiate the relationship (mainly reaching out to the mentee). It was a great program the lady who was my mentor was someone I typically would not have gotten to know, but we have a very special friendship now. She and her husband even surprised me and showed up at my first 5K race this spring to cheer me on. The program we used was called “Woman to Woman.”
I agree, this has been on my heart for years. I have no solution. I’ve decided there’s 2 parts to the problem: The older people don’t trust the younger people and will not let them be involved or mentor them in any way. Because of this, the younger people don’t understand the process and traditions and do not want anything do to with the older people or their ways. I have tried “bridging the gap” in my own church, but was (surprise!) pushed out of leadership by older women.
We have a program at our church that is a mentoring program where some of the elderly women mentor the younger women. It doesn’t have to be just women it could be men as well. It gives the elderly women who have walked with God for a long time and have much more wisdom then the younger women an opportunity to share what they have learned over the years and help direct the younger ones! It gives the elderly a chance to really be used by God in sharing their wisdom which makes them feel good about themselves and they also get to experience the fellowship which a lot of elderly women and men miss in their lives. It helps the younger women grow in Christ and in my life it has saved me a lot of heartache from the advice I have gotten as a single mother. It connects everyone in the church! I love what God has placed on your heart! I think it is much needed!!!
I am so grateful that God has given my family the eyes to see people as people. I work with very impoverished families in some unkept houses and I can play with those toddlers the same as the ones in nice and clean houses. My husband works with others from different religious and relationship backgrounds and he can see them all as people. Our daughters are friends with girls from different cultures and they’re friends with those with special needs. I am so happy we are able to do that. We’ve always said ‘God makes us all and loves us all. He makes us all different and it’d be boring if we were all the same. ” where I feel challenged to grow is reaching out intentionally and investing into the non Christians in our lives. Having neighbors over for dinner, having our daughters non Christian friends over for play dates and sleepovers. So praying for courage and opportunities for that.
I also feel challenged in that area. I pray for the same opportunities and courage, especially on my job with my colleagues and students. And that when He allows me those opportunities, I don’t cower away. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I too see past the colour of one’s skin to the hear, I always have. My husband is from Trinidad and our little one is a perfect mix between us. I also struggle with engaging with my neighbors and some family in fear of rejection, or even attack. I pray God will lead me through this so as to be a bridge builder in my neighborhood.
The Lord has me at a church where I am the only Black person. It can be uncomfortable at times, but I enjoy the Word of God and worship there. Everyone is extremely kind and friendly. I pray that I will see past the skin color of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and see their hearts. Lord make me a bridge builder. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I’m believing that God will place someone in my life to build a bridge with. I currently work 6 days a week and have Sunday’s off. I don’t have lots of extra time but maybe God will place someone I work with in my path? I know He has plans bigger than I can fathom and I can’t wait to see it come to life. God bless!
I too work lots of hours BUT our work place can be our mission field. We can build bridges as we hear conversations. We can build others up. God can work through us to break down barriers between people or groups of people. Only HE can bless our hearts so that we will not want to judge others-for any reason….as the song goes JESUS BIDS US SHINE:)
I grew up inner city Chicago and in our neighborhood there were people from all over.
I was taught to never mistreat anyone or talk ugly to them or about them. Then I moved to a small town down south where I came face to face with real racial prejudice.
Wow! I try to treat people the same, regardless. I think most prejudice is based on two thing: fear, and pride. We fear what we don’t know or understand, or we are simply prideful and think we are “better than”. If we are in Christ, and He is in us, there’s no place for either of these. We must teach our children and lead by example. We’ve moved around because of my husbands job and my kids have been able to make friends with people of different race, religion, disability, economic, when others have stepped back. It’s heart warming. So much of what they learn comes from how we speak about others. With everything that’s going on in the news, it’s given us ample opportunities to talk about Gods standard of right and wrong for everyone, no matter your color.
A great book that I just read is called Building Bridges by Steph Fink from Encouraged in Heart.
I call “those people” my church family. My husband is a mission pastor in a poor community. Our town is smaller and lots of prejudice remains for those who have made bad decisions in their lives. They become the misfits and outcasts who “deserve” to be where they are. So my struggle isn’t with our people but with the “normal” Christians who judge them and don’t help and judge us for caring. I love our people and our work and this is our calling. I just need help when I repeatedly make appeals for volunteers in church and on Facebook and no one responds. If we were missionaries to another country we would be more acceptable but our own church isolates and does lip service to outreach. I think being a military wife for 20 yrs. helped me to love people where they are and not who I want them to be. Praying for open hearts and less judgment on my part.
I am sorry Bobbie that is happening. I ask God right now to bring grace and peace to you, and that the hearts of those people will be softened. In Jesus name
Wonderful post – had chill bumps the whole time I was reading. Enjoyed the comments as well. I am not bothered by the color of anyone’s skin but sadly I do let my own insecurities prevent me from being friendly to any and all. I pray this is a stepping stone for better outreach on my part.
Thank you for your sweet comment. I will be praying for you. I will be praying that God gives you opportunities and that you see them as from Him. (Jennifer, LGG Encourager)
I don’t feel like I have abt prejudices, but I will pray that God enlightens me on anything that He doesn’t like in my heart.
I am a retired high school teacher…my new career is as a photographer. I started out photographing everything and every age group..I thought I would love being a newborn photographer and then I happened upon the Senior High photography group…Some of my best friends now in my life are my former students…having had to leave my hometown because of a family situation I had to uproot my business and everything and try and get going in a new city and state. I focused on the Senior market…I didn’t know anyone…I started Tweeting…LOL..but now I am a master at it…i have just finished selecting 8 senior girls to be model reps for me…Okay..so this is the God part…EVERY single on e of these girls I believe God put in my life for a reason…not just to represent my business but for something bigger than that. Almost everyone of the girls that applied are Christians…Young girls, seniors in high school who have a love for Christ…I can’t wait to see how God uses me and uses them to influence others for Him.
Grissom!!! I’m from Peru!!!
No way, Melissa! I went there all the time as a kid!!! 🙂 I have great memories of Peru and the little circus there!
Did you go to Maconaquah?!
No, but I would have if we had stayed there longer!:)
I serve on my city’s Human Rights Advisory Commission and our mission is to ensure that all individuals in our community are treated equally and with respect. I thoroughly enjoy the work I do and get the opportunity to rub shoulders with diverse individuals who also serve as members of the Commission (and who I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise). Through building relationships with the diverse commission members (as well as the community), I get to be an ambassador of Christ’s love.
Although I have been out of church for some time now, you have inspired me to reach out to old friends I’ve neglected to reach out to before.
I am reading this today and thinking about it in light of today’s culture. All the gender and sexual issues in the world are not biblical and followers of Christ I think have a hard time with it. Do you guys think the Jewish Christians of that time and their dislike towards Gentiles could be compared to how a lot of Christians feel towards all the gender stuff today?
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