There’s a fascinating interaction that happens in the middle of the book of Acts: the message of hope and life in Jesus is quickly (and, eventually, more readily) spreading outside the Jewish people. The Jewish believers didn’t know what to think–after all, it would seem, God had cursed the gentiles by making them, well, gentiles. Could a non-Jew even follow the Messiah?
In chapter 11 of Acts, Peter–the sort of ‘Senior Pastor’ in Jerusalem–is called to task for developing significant relationship with non-Jewish people (“you went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them,” emphasis mine) who God had supernaturally orchestrated conversation with and ended up entering into relationship with Jesus. The way all of it happened is astounding–you can read the story here–but what strikes me is the response of those who hear Peter’s side of things:
So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.
~ Acts 11:18b
“Even to them, God has given..life.”
I wonder how many of us have ‘thems’ in our life. Even though few of us might admit to thinking this–or even be aware that we have such prejudices–I think it’s a safe bet that there’s a person or group of people that God would like to show you his love for–his desire for them to know ‘repentance that leads to life.’
Maybe it’s you–have you felt too far removed from grace and God’s love?
Even to you…
Maybe it’s a sibling or other family member. It’s hard to imagine that they aren’t ‘too far gone.’ But they aren’t.
Even to them…
What about people of a certain political affiliation? Lifestyle? Worldview?
Even to them.
In all of this, there is a catch–but it’s not for the ‘thems.’ It’s to the ‘us’ crowd–a post on that catch is coming on Wednesday. Between now and then, though, why not ask the Spirit of God to show you where you’ve created a ‘them’–and ask Him to show you his design and desire of hope for them. If you’re the ‘them,’ ask Him to show you his great love and grace for you.
What does it look like to live in the awareness and hope of the ‘even-to-thems?’