(Acts 10:34-35 ESV) So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
I had some extra time on my hands yesterday so I decided to stop at a local car wash to see if I could track down a nasty smell that was emanating from the back seat of my vehicle. It’s where the granddaughters car seats are. Should I go on?
It was such a beautiful day, I decided to go ahead and give the car a complete spring clean. I was in my own little world, listening to the country music station, (George Strait) when a car with two young Hispanic men pulled in beside me. Since their music was much louder than mine I decided to turn George off and listen to their’s. I’m not sure who the artist was, I couldn’t understand the lyrics, but the mariachi band was actually quite good.
Just as I was getting into the swing of it, another car pulled in on the other side of me. The second car carried two young Black men. Their music was even louder than the mariachi band. It was deep. It boomed. A lot! I heard a few words that I understood a little bit, but not completely. I think one of the door handles vibrated off the car. I think my inner Bruno Mars was coming out. It was interesting to say the least.
But, after a few minutes I started thinking about the unrest that is being played out in America right now. I remembered how a man was attacked on the Big 4 Bridge recently and the incidences at St. Matthews Mall with an unruly group of young people. I had recently viewed the news reports of violence breaking out during political appearances around the country. To be very honest, I started seeing these young people in a negative light.
And I was ashamed of myself….
Ashamed because I judged someone I didn’t know. Ashamed because even though my outward demeanor hadn’t changed toward them, my inner thoughts had. Ashamed because I had allowed concern for my own welfare to blow a benign situation into a false alarm. Ashamed because I had marked someone whom Jesus gave His life for as unclean.
And then I remembered Peter…
The Spirit of God had spoken to Peter about a Gentile man named Cornelius. Peter’s instructions were to go to him and preach the gospel. But, Peter had preconceived ideas about him because of the culture in which they lived. Jews and Gentiles were enemies. They were not supposed to interact with one another. When God instructed Peter to stop perceiving them as being “unclean” he was appalled. And then, the Word of the Lord came forcibly to Peter, “Do not call anything unclean that God has made clean.” And with that, Peter declared, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Case closed. End of story.
There I was with my floor mats in my hand when one of the Hispanic men came over and asked if I wanted him to spray them off so I wouldn’t have to get wet. And then, one of the young Black men struck up a conversation about the beautiful weather and what a great day it was to clean up the car. And, “Why don’t you get in line ahead of us.” There we stood, two Hispanic men, two Black men, and a grumpy old White guy washing our cars, being civil to one another; all of us equally created and loved by God.
As I drove off, I turned George back on and heard him sing, “Do you love me? Do you want to be my friend? I think this is how love goes, check yes or no.”
PRAYER: Father, thank You for the life lesson. Amen.