All God’s Children

“Your wife told me that you’ve been to Germany recently,” the older guy said to me at the gym. He came closer obviously wanting to make a point.

“Did you see a lot of those Muslims there?” he asked in a confidential whisper. “You know they are everywhere over there. The people hate Merkel for letting them in. They don’t assimilate like other people. They just keep to their own communities.”

When you grow up in a white-only area of a southern California city and then move to a rural area where total “non-white” population is less than 8%, I guess you form weird ideas about people. Add in that his only source of news is Fox…

I’m white, I suppose. Grew up and still live in the area. People always assume I share the same beliefs. But I went wrong somewhere. Traveled extensively. Did business around the world for the past 35 years. And maybe I took the New Testament teachings more seriously than most. (By the way, not all people in west central Ohio share that guy’s belief. Many do, though.)

Thoughts of poor Peter right after Jesus’ resurrection flashed through my mind. A gentile named Cornelius had a crisis–a crisis of health and a spiritual crisis he didn’t even realize at first. Peter was called.

Now Jews didn’t assimilate into the broader Greco-Roman culture. Peter was forbidden by his law from going into Cornelius’ house. From eating his food. From having any more to do with him than business.

But Cornelius had a problem and Peter had the solution. God had been whispering (maybe even shouting) to Peter to prepare him for this occasion. Peter sucked it up, went in, healed, shared the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, converted the entire household.

Peter finally experienced the power of the gospel. It is for all God’s children. God loves every human being and wants to draw them all to him. The New Testament, as much as many wish, is not full of doctrine and theology. It is full of the need of all of us for grace and God’s wish to extend it to us.

Back to my acquaintance at the gym. I burst his bubble. At least a little one.

“No,” I said, “I didn’t see many Muslims. But I have many Muslims as friends. They are all great people. There will be several posts a day in my Facebook feed in Arabic.”

Not willing to leave well enough alone, “Be careful what you trust as far as news on TV. They manipulate pictures to show things as more dramatic or worse than they are for effect. Remember, they aren’t bringing news. They are selling ads.”

And I leave that for you. Be careful what you allow to fill your mind. Are you in a vicious circle of negativity? Are you filling it with God’s word so that when an opportunity arises you can respond appropriately?

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