Christian Witness in People of Other Faiths
Acts 10: 9-16
V15: The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.”
It is very natural for those of us who are born and taught Christianity from a young age to take for granted our faith. However, there are many ways God reminds us that the faith we have in Him is not just something passive, but something that we must constantly work for and strengthen. One of the ways that I believe God does this was by delivering very straightforward messages to those of good faith. These messages, like the one that Peter received, redefine what we may not have realized about our faith and subsequently allow for more people to come to the faith. We see in this passage that Peter considers some animals clean while other unclean and thus not okay to eat. This is a misconception that God redefines but saying that all of His creation is pure and that none shall be deemed unworthy.
We can take this in two different ways: one purely about food and the other about people of different backgrounds than us. We see in the other major religions in the world that there are restrictions with food. Muslims will only eat food that is deemed Halal and the Jewish will only eat food that is deemed Kosher. Then, when we look at the diets of different cultures of the world, we see that each diet varies from another. As humans it is natural to categorize things that we are unfamiliar with as weird, gross and wrong, however, this specific verse teaches us that we need to remove ourselves from thinking human thoughts and practice (and eventually normalize) thinking as how God wants us to think. We must be open to those who are new to the faith and not be afraid to fully invest in them, because that was God’s plan for us. God chooses to specifically state that all his creation is pure so that we do not back away from an opportunity to share the Good News with those that may seem different from us.
How we treat others who have just accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior is a part of who we are as Christians. We can choose to separate them from ourselves and deem them not as worthy as us, or we can understand that this was a part of God’s bigger plan. I believe that our faith constantly challenges us to be more than human - to not succumb to the simplicity of human flaws but rather raise the standard and follow the godliness that is instilled inside each one of us. God’s ultimate plan is for us to be reunited with Him, let us not slow this down by how we treat others who are witnesses of the faith. It is important to ask ourselves: Are we blatantly biased to those who receive and are new to the faith? Are we feeling envious of non-believers witnessing Christ? Are we ready to accept that God’s plan is different for each of us? What is our attitude towards those who are recent converts to Christianity? Do we classify our relationships with new believers based on superficial factors?
Dear Lord Our Father, allow us to come to know you more and more every day. We thank you for putting your godly characteristics in us so that we may be able to grow away from the human flaws that we are quick to fall back on. Let us be welcoming and inclusive to those who have received you. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
The God Who can change a sinner into a Christian by giving him His life can equally transform the fleshly Christian into a spiritual one by giving him His life more abundantly.
Aksa Babu, The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church