Representatives of a Roman Centurion approached Peter, asking him to come speak with their commanding officer. Peter felt God’s leading to go with them, but still struggled to obey, since religious tradition forbade Jews mingling with Gentiles.
Nevertheless, he at last gave in and traveled to the the centurion’s home, where to his surprise, he found a large number of Romans gathered to learn about Jesus. Upon seeing the crowd he replied, “Now I realize that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation, whoever fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34)
As a result of Peter’s insight and obedience, the entire Gentile world, (i.e. most of us reading this post), opened wide to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What if Peter had been narrow-minded and prejudiced? You and I would be lost today, that’s what. It’s so important that we keep our hearts open toward those who look, think, and behave differently than we do. Bigotry can assume many forms, including racial prejudice, national arrogance, and religious intolerance. When we find ourselves excluding all but a limited number of like-minded people, we know it’s time to step out of our narrow space into the greater world.
Pastor Paul Daugherty of Victory Christian Center Tulsa put it this way: “Draw a bigger circle.” I challenge all who read this blog to begin to associate with folks who are different than themselves. Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” But you don’t have to visit the ends of the earth to grow in love. Just travel outside the confines of the narrow circle you currently inhabit and meet all those other beautiful folks Jesus died to save.