the world revolves around us?
In Acts 3, Paul finds himself under arrest in Jerusalem because some people stirred up a mob who attacked him. The next day he addresses the people to explain his actions and beliefs. Basically, he tells them of his encounter with Jesus and his desire to follow Him.
However, the crowd’s patience listening quickly turns sour when Paul says (verse 21), “But the Lord said to me, ‘Leave Jerusalem, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!’ ” The crowd becomes outraged at this statement and begins to shout “Away with such a fellow! Kill him! He isn’t fit to live!” (verse 22).
It interesting to me how quickly these people turn on Paul after listening to his defense. The minute he mentions the Gentiles, the crowd erupts into a frenzy. It’s one thing for him to challenge their belief system, their God and their understanding of forgiveness, but it’s entirely different for him to challenge their beliefs about the people around them.
Sometimes I don’t think too much has changed in the church. We can get comfortable and content with our circle of friends and our self-serving worship services only to completely lose sight of the lost people around us. In fact, we love to put everyone into categories: “he’s in” or “he’s out”. We try to make everything black and white. Unfortunately, (or is it fortunate?) the world is very gray and these labels and distinctions typically polarize us from the people who need to be exposed to relationship we have.
So we’ve got our work cut out for us. How can we open up and accept the “Gentiles” around us who don’t know God? Instead of rejecting and judging people who are ignorant in their sin, why don’t we find God’s heart and realize what matters to Him? After all, Jesus did say, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Matthew 9:12). So why do we spend more time in the doctor’s office than going out and finding sick people?