Boy in the Bubble
Acts 10:28 God has shown me that I should not call any person common… God shows no partiality…
I was recently looking up a far-off bed and breakfast online, when I came across this odd advertisement. If you voted for ——-, this place is not for you. I found it amusing, but it betrayed a habit that most of us have. We gravitate towards and associate with others of like mind. We tend to insulate ourselves from the world with people who protect our way of seeing the world.
We do this with politics. When we discover someone voted for the other candidate, feelings of enmity often arise. We do this with socioeconomic status. We do it with school, race and we do it with our faith. We associate with those with whom we agree and we disassociate ourselves from those with whom we disagree. We prefer to live in our own protective bubble.
The early church was apparently not much different. The disciples were called from the Jewish people, who saw themselves as God’s chosen race. Christ, after all, was born to a Jewish woman. They saw all gentiles (non-Jews) as less than. They did not share the gospel of Christ with the gentiles as they did not consider them worthy of the message.
It was in this context that God sent Peter a vision, in which He commanded Peter to carry his message to all. This was a revelation to the disciples and completely changed the direction of their lives. No longer were they to shun the world, they were to love it (or at least the people in it), sharing Christ’s message with all.
When I first read this story yesterday, I skimmed it, not planning on covering it. I did not see much application to my life as I did not see any personal defect in the story. The more I thought about it, the more I rebelled against addressing it. My protestation warned me that there must be something that I was not seeing, so, I spent the day thinking on it. As I happened to be working, I had opportunity to consider how I interacted with different people groups.
At first, I was quite proud. I honestly try to treat every patient as I would a member of my own family. I am generally kind and caring to everyone, as long as I am paid to be. Then, I started considering those with whom I share my story and my faith. As I am quite open about my life mistakes and faith, I have frequent opportunities to share my story with others who are in similar need. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that I have never once shared my faith with certain people groups. There are just some religious, socioeconomic and racial lines that my faith does not cross.
I got off work and as I drove home, my life became more and more insulated. I prefer my family. I love them and want to spend time with them. This is not wrong, but in my preference for those whom I am closest to, I insulate myself from the world. I have my own little bubble, which I maintain for my own comfort.
To this, Jesus says, Show no partiality. As I have loved you, you are to share my love with those around you. It may not be comfortable according to your measure of comfort, but you will always be more joyful and full of life when you abandon self and follow me. Love your neighbor as yourself, regardless of whom he or she voted for.