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!