I must confess, most of the time I worship labels. I adore people who carry the latest collection from one brand to another, judging a person’s appearance is somewhat entertaining to me. Bottom line, I have haughty eyes. But to whom do we owe an elaborate description of what we wear or carry? To our neighbor? Does God really care?
When it comes to judging others, many of us are guilty of being quick to tag a person to such and such–based only on what we see, hear, and most commonly, what we believe. In short, we make our own standards. And the tricky part is, our naturally wicked hearts stir up more bitterness thus making us feel superior.
In the book of Acts, aside from the story of Paul, there’s a story that impressed me…
The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Acts 10:15
Peter had a vision that the heavens opened and a large number of different kinds of four-footed animals, reptiles and birds fell on the four corners of the Earth. Then he heard a voice telling him to kill and eat those animals. It is a Jewish custom to only eat food that are ceremonially clean and in Paul’s vision, he answered “Surely not, Lord!” And the voice answered back, “Do not not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
After his vision, some Gentiles arrived at the house where Peter was staying to ask him to go with them to preach to those whom God called.
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. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?” Acts 10:28-29
I don’t know how you would interpret this story, but it is clear that God is telling me, “Who are you to judge?” All that he made is good.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning–the sixth day. Genesis 1:31
See, all we do is look at the labels and give names to people. A few years back, we saw this new doctor for my kids and if you know my daughter personally, you would agree that she is a very outgoing child. Every parent is familiar that a pediatrician’s clinic not only houses medicines but also very appealing toys and this one has caught RyRy’s attention and she wasted no time to play with them, going around the small room, making loud noises. After our check up, I took a peek on my children’s records and there I saw the doctor’s note on my daughter, “A bit ADHD.”
I can’t take it off my mind up until now that we’ve already proved that my daughter is not even close to having such condition. I guess I was hurt seeing that a stranger mislabeled my daughter in the same case that what if Peter turned down the Gentiles because of his own judgments, how would they feel? Would you reject a person because he is a sinner?
People who only like you because of your closet full of designer bags don’t really care for you. The ones who truly love you will not mind if you are wearing sack cloth or a $100 shirt. More so, God does not look at your outer appearance, neither should we. He looks straight at our hearts.
If you are that person who judges each and everyone of his friends at every scroll you make on your Facebook feed, you should pause. The only person we should judge is ourselves. Every now and then we should check our hearts and see if we are still on the trail to eternal life or we are moving towards the other way.
True, it is hard not to pass judgments, but if you feel like blabbing it out, talk to God. Tell it to the one who listens and forgives. Never turn your judgments in to gossips or a way to hurt other people. I believe there is always a nice manner to tell someone what you don’t approve of and most of the time it entails you to pray before confronting that person.
Lastly, never reject someone because of who you think he is. If a person whom you hate comes to you asking for help, don’t turn your back on him. Because chances are, God is telling you something and you are most likely wrong about that person. Always look at the good in everything.
What do you think happened to Peter and the Gentiles?
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” Acts 10: 34-35
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. Acts 10: 44-48