Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality…’ (Acts 10:34)
Recently a friend shared a situation that was bothering him.
He said, “A few days ago I went into a colleague’s office. He’s black. I told him I was unhappy about race relations in the country right now, and he said he was as well. I then told him I’d never talked about racism with a black person, and he told me he’d never talked about racism with a white person. We got off to a good start, but then we froze. After a few uncomfortable moments, I just left, and we haven’t talked since.”
After my friend had finished telling me this story, I asked why he had shared it with me. He said, “You know how to have tough conversations. I’d like your advice on how to have one with my friend about race relations.”
What advice did I give? First, I suggested that he listen more than he speaks. Second, I suggested that he share from his heart. Share what? Share his respect and care for his friend, his desire to connect and not offend, his grief over the unfairness in our society, and his belief that God cares for all equally.
The belief that God cares for all equally is the point Peter is proclaiming when he says that God shows “no partiality.” The controversy at that time was the relations between the Jews and the Gentiles. There was a great deal at stake. Were the Gentiles going to be full and equal members in the Body of Christ, or would they be second-class citizens? Was racism and prejudice going to be tolerated, or obliterated?
Peter’s realization that God shows no partiality reveals God’s heart for all people, for all time. Since we are all made in God’s image, God’s children must move beyond all preferences, all partialities, and all prejudices.
I pray that as a nation we will grow into Peter’s vision. Beyond what I pray for, I also believe this is God’s prayer.
Today I encourage us to understand, accept, and celebrate that God isn’t partial to one people, one group, one gender, or one color, because God’s partial to and for all.
- Have you ever talked about racism with someone of a different race? If so, how did it go? If not, would you consider doing so?
- All partialities grieve God’s heart. Do all partialities grieve yours? If not, what would it take for God’s grief to change your heart?
- What would help our country to move beyond all partialities, preferences and prejudices? Are you willing to pray and do something for that to happen?
My Barnabas invites you to watch this video below: