Have you ever been with a group of friends and one of them makes an off-colored remark? Maybe slightly racist or sexist? Perhaps it makes you uncomfortable but you sit quietly while others laugh. You don’t want to rock the boat or loose friends. You think it’s harmless because it’s not like your friend is going to harm someone.
But our quietness is as hurtful as the comment. If racism is to end, we must all be diligent about confronting it in love and teaching truth.
Peter, was chief apostle. He loved Jesus. His salvation was sure. He performed mighty miracles in the name of Jesus. Not only that, but he was the first to preach Jesus to the Gentiles. Yet he still caved to peer pressure and would not eat with Gentiles when his Jewish friends were around. His hypocrisy was hurtful to Gentiles believers.
Paul corrected Peter to his face (not through Facebook). Paul understood a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. This was not to say that Paul didn’t respect Peter, nor did he questioned Peter’s authority. But he acknowledged that in this one area Peter was wrong. This took great strength for Paul as Peter was considered the chief apostle.
As Christians, we like Paul, must be willing to confront racism and nationalism, regardless to who is demonstrating the behavior. We must teach, preach and model an inclusive Gospel, that is available to ALL who believe in Jesus as Savior.
This will not be easy. You may lose a friend or two. But God has given each of us the ministry of reconciliation. We are called to reconcile ALL to Christ. And when someone makes an off-colored remark about someone who is different, they are criticizing someone God created, one of God’s masterpieces.
Confront racism in Love my friend! Be a minister of reconciliation.
“But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.”
Galatians 2:11-13 NLT