Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't Call Me That!

Acts 10:15

The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

People fear what they don’t understand. It's so easy to sit back and label other people unclean when we have been socialized to believe that because they are different they are unacceptable. For hundreds of years in America, we have been indoctrinated to believe that whites are better than blacks. Herman Cain was partially correct when he said that blacks have been brainwashed he just forgot to be inclusive in saying that White people have also been brainwashed into believing that they are superior to blacks based upon skin color. We have categorized people into categories of clean and unclean, cool and uncool, saint and sinner many times because of cultural conditioning. We have been robbed of relationship because of our labels that have been ingrained through pre-judging or prejudice. Many of us feel like the rapper T.I. when people label us before knowing us, “You might see me in the street but you don’t know me!”

To know me is to love me and many of us can’t adequately love our neighbor because we miss the opportunity to know people because we have labeled each other as conservative, liberal, dirty, sinner, cult and contemporary, secular; without taking the time to really get to know who we are on the inside.

Peter was on the rooftop praying when God gave him a vision of all the things that were forbidden for him to eat according to his religious tradition. God told him to rise and eat! Peter said, “That stuff is nasty and I never have and never will eat that.” God said, “Don’t call anything unclean that I have made clean.” Does God change his mind on what we call nasty or has what we called nasty been redeemed because God changed it?

Once we’ve been redeemed you can’t call me nasty anymore. I am not ignorant you can’t call me the “N” word. Don’t call me that! I am a woman and not a female dog! Don’t call me that! I work hard and pay taxes just like you, don’t call me an illegal immigrant especially if I take care of your house and your children. Don’t call me that! Don’t call me unpatriotic just because I don’t buy into political pedagogy and spin as I refuse to support an unjust war or Occupy Wall Street. Don’t call me that!

God sent Peter to Cornelius’ house who happened to be a Roman soldier and a Gentile by definition. Jews didn’t eat with Gentiles it would defile them religiously but God sent Peter to Cornelius’ house. When he got there he preached to them and everyone there received the Holy Spirit even before they got baptized. They were “dirty” and still received the Holy Spirit. They got baptized after receiving the Holy Ghost! Wow! Some of us need to get baptized with the fire before we hit the water.

Today, God wants you to get out of your comfort zone and talk to somebody who other people would call nasty or uncool or unholy. It is only when we stop labeling that we allow God to move in other people’s lives that are different from us. Different doesn’t mean bad. Go in their space so you can get to know them and share the gospel.

1. Eat in the home of somebody different from you.

2. Take them to lunch and listen to their story.

3. Pray with people from different backgrounds.

4. Listen before you start preaching.

Don’t call somebody unclean when God wants you to redeem them through relationship. You can’t call them that anymore! God loves them just as much as he loved you. You know you used to be Nasty! Don’t call me that anymore.

Dear God,

Thank you for cleaning me up when I was nasty. Now help me to stop pre-judging others without going over to get to know them better. Use me to break down barriers so others who differ from me can receive the Holy Spirit and have relationship with Jesus Christ.

In Jesus Name,

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