September 15, 2006

Clean or Unclean

Acts 10:19-29

"God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean." Acts 10:28


Why did the Jewish holocaust happen? What caused the genocide in Rwanda? Was it because the Jews and the Tutsis were so guilty that they deserved to die? Or did those events--and others like them--occur because human cultures encourage some people to consider themselves superior to others?

Peter, a practicing Jew, could never imagine himself entering the house of Cornelius, a Roman soldier. Jewish customs taught that all who were outside of the Jewish covenant and did not follow their dietary laws were "dogs" and deserved to be treated like dogs. But Peter could no longer hold such beliefs after seeing the vision we read about yesterday. He went to Cornelius's house not as a superior but as a servant of Christ.

Take a look around. Who are the "dogs" of our society today? Who are the "unclean" people with whom we never associate? Who are the people who make us feel uncomfortable? Who are the people we wish would disappear from our neighborhoods, our cities, churches, or countries?

If we think we are the "clean" citizens, we need to repent individually and collectively for our sins of prejudice against others in our society. If we are those whom others treat as "unclean," we need to forgive those who hold prejudices against us.

Lord Jesus, please heal us and our society from sins of prejudice. Help us to see others as you see us all--as sinners in need of your saving grace. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Paul M'pindi

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