Friday, March 13, 2015

Standing Up, Part 1 and 2

Standing Up, Part 1

By TreAnna B.
            I was recently reading through the book of Acts when a passage caught my eye. Chapter ten is a passage I love, but often forget about completely. This passage tells how Cornelius the Centurion sent for Peter so that he could tell them the good news about Jesus. Verses 9-16 tell of the vision Peter had. This vision changed the ways believers viewed each other.

            Let me provide some background. Jews in these times didn’t associate with Gentiles. Paul and a few of the apostles had only recently begun sharing the news of Jesus with the Gentiles, so, Peter going to Cornelius was a big deal.

            In Peter's vision God says, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” The vision seems to be referring to the food eaten by the Jews, but Peter realizes what it really means, and later in verse 28, he discloses it: He said to them: 'You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.'

            In this way, God eliminated the lines that separated His children. Jew or Gentile, it didn't matter. He loved all of His children.

            Likewise, we can take away a great lesson from this. Today, God continues to love all of His children, despite who they are. He made us all in our own unique way.

            I want to present this passage to you while highlighting the issue of bullying.

            I don't really think I need to say much about how wrong it is to bully, or how important it is to stand up for someone who is being bullied. This is a hot topic in many schools today, so I would be surprised if it hasn't been discussed recently in your day to day lives.

            I do want to put a new spin on the issue – which will come in part 2. For now, just reflect on the passage!

Standing Up

Part 2

            In the first part of this devotion, I outlined Acts 10 and gave you a little bit of context for what it was talking about. Basically this is when Peter explains that God has broken down the barriers between Jew and Gentiles. 
            I equated it with bullying—God loves all of His children so much that in Peter's time He eliminated the lines that separated them.

            This week, I want to put a new spin on the issue.

            When we bully, we put others down. Sometimes we can even bully someone without knowing that we are. I know when I'm with a group of my friends a subtle game of teasing can break out all too easily. Soon, however, this game can evolve into something much darker and more sinister. Normally we end up focusing all of our attention and jabs on one person, who tries to bear the brunt of it with a good-natured smile.

            Until I was on the receiving end I never realized just how hurtful this game of teasing could be. Sure my friends and I never really meant anything by it, but the fact remained that it still hurt.

            Labeling is another form of bullying that many people don't think about. It's as if we see someone and immediately the label appears in our mind. I know I'm just as guilty of this as the next person, but again this is a type of bullying.

            All types of bullying creates lines among us. It's as if we are working to rebuild walls that God has already knocked down. In light of the passage, God stated very clearly that all of His children were precious to Him. We should live together in harmony.

            When Jesus died, He died for all of us—not one specific ethnic group, not only one label. In the end, we we stand up to bullying, we're standing up for God


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