Monday, January 29, 2007

But God #9

But God #9

And he said to them, You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. -- Acts 10:28; English Standard Version

I am going to tell you something about myself that I absolutely HATE to admit. I used to be a racist. You might think that, being a Caucasian man from the "Old South", I was racist towards black people. Nope. I was often misunderstood as such because of my former wearing of a Confederate kepi most of my way through high school and a few years beyond; that was completely due to my personal, historical affinity to the styles of the nineteenth century. Nope; I was racist towards peoples of Asian heritage. Now, I could "justify" my racism in the fact that many men in my family served in horrible wars against the Vietnamese, Koreans and Japanese. I was constantly bombarded by racist thoughts and comments about Asian peoples.

I was never really comfortable with it. I could clearly see my own hypocrisy, but I learned to live with it; even to embrace my racist attitude. I would pass by an Asian person and suggest something to them, such as "GO HOME!" (Funny thing I realized...I bet there are a great many Native Americans that would like to tell my Western-European hind-parts the same thing!)

A "strange" thing happened while I was in the army in South Korea. A fellow soldier--a kind, Korean Christian gentleman--became my roommate in the barracks. His family had been led to Christ by missionaries from the "Old South." Added to that irony, he thought those missionaries had come from North Carolina, my home state.


I began to think rather deeply about my racist convictions. This was even before I surrendered to Christ.

One of the very first things I came under deep conviction about when I did surrender to Christ was those racist attitudes. God broke me and healed me and I will forever be thankful.

Here lies the "But God" thought of the day...

We all have these social, familial, historical, cultural, experiential, religious, and self-created ideas about a lot of things...BUT GOD.

The Apostle Peter was raised as a "good Jew". He didn't mingle with any persons but other "good Jews". Messing around with Gentiles was bad juju! (Yes, pun intended!)

But, here, in today's verse, that is precisely what Peter is doing. He is mingling with Gentiles. Oooooo! Do you know what it took to break all that Peter had been taught about Gentiles? It took a vision from God!

We MIGHT have a vision from God. I have certainly had a couple of dreams in which God confronted me! Most likely a good dose of God's word will serve as proper confrontational material.

I could spend all night typing examples of stuff we believe, think or do that we could find ample "justification" for. There is really no need for that. We KNOW we believe some things that run contrary to what God would have us believe. And, we will probably be discovering more things as long as we have breath.

The question is not "if" we disagree with God on certain issues. The question is will we change when we realize it?

Racism is wrong. Divorce is not in God's will. Gossip is a sin. Pornography is iniquity. Gambling is a sin. Drunkenness is a sin. Selfishness, adultery, greed, laziness, waste, pride, arrogance...

Need I go on?

All of these are socially acceptable in our society. Some of these things are even mistakenly believed to be commendable.

But God...

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