Our Job Description, part 2 focuses on Our Relationship with Others.
Bible Reading: John 4, Acts 10
What has been will be again, and what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9
Historically, since sin entered the earth, prejudice and biases based on hate have always existed between human beings. From Cain to modern society hatred has produced many sour fruits of exclusion based on physical, social, religious, and economic statuses. Satan continues to escalate the presence of evil by turning humanity against each other because we fail to acknowledge that everyone was created in the image of God, and therefore, we are equal in His sight.
Throughout, the Bible we learn of the animosity of nation against nation, along with the separation between persons of Jewish descent and Gentiles, persons who were not Jewish.
Gentiles mean nations, according to Smith’s Bible Dictionary. The term Gentile does not really describe who someone is but rather who they are, not – a Jew. A Gentile is one belonging to any nation or people group other than the Jewish people group. http://www.christianity.com
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. John 4:7-9
Simon Peter’s Vision: Acts 10
Were you aware that Simon Peter mentioned in Acts is the same person that was Jesus’ disciple? Peter witnessed first-hand that Jesus did not abide or tolerate the Jewish laws of separation based on nationality or ethnicity. But out of loyalty to the Jewish tradition of segregation, Peter actively practiced the very biases and prejudices that Christ had shown His disciples that God does not condone. Regardless of customs and traditions, Jesus’ ministry was extended to everyone, and His life clearly portrays that God is no respecter of persons.
But like Peter who disregarded the Savior’s teachings, we readily embrace false concepts that are not in sync with the Word of God. How does one embrace hatred for other individuals? We begin to dislike people based on family values, cultural traditions, negative interaction with one person of a particular race or religion, economic wealth or poverty, or just because it is a freedom of choice. Even so, in His mercy, God always provides teaching moments that give us the opportunity to change.
9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” Acts 10:9-14
Many individuals use Peter’s dream to justify eating unclean animals, swine, crustaceans, and even rodents that God created to keep the earth and waters clean. So now, I will deviate to explain further the health laws given in Leviticus. In Genesis chapter 1, God tells us that He created humanity to eat a plant-based diet. And yes, because humanity is never content with what God has given to us, God gave in to the complainers and permitted the Israelites to eat clean meats and fish.
Still, it is not enough. We disregard God-given health laws, and eat whatever makes us happy. Disobedience to God has resulted in the lifespan of humanity decreasing from Adam dying naturally of old age at 930 compared to our struggle to reach the average age of 78 in the United States, because many are so sickly due to diseases caused from malnutrition (poor eating habits as opposed to lack of food).
Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 John 1:2. This is the true definition of prosperity, great health!
Have you thought about reaching peak performance and an optimal level of health? Return to the original diet of eating a plant-based diet. Do an online search to observe how cows eat? They were created to eat a plant-based diet also, and that is why they chew, chew, chew, to receive the highest level of nutrients. Contrary to popular belief, we do not become malnourished from eating a plant-based diet–look how big cows become, but their size is not due to adipose, fat tissue storage.
Shopping for fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and grains with their vast array of colors and shapes demonstrates God’s love of beauty and His desire for us to reach the optimal level of health that He created us to have. As a nurse, I have cared for individuals who were gravely ill, and with a change in diet, they were able to lose weight and receive healing from many of their diseases. Oh, yes, I have always used the opportunity to witness by encouraging my patients to eat a healthier diet.
Healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a quick-fix method of dieting. You will reap positive benefits from pampering your mind and body. I am a living witness of the benefits of serving God and eating a plant-based diet. At 62 years of age, even with a physical disability of not having cartilage in my knees, I live a pain-free life. I am wrinkle-free, joyful, and at peak performance intellectually and physically. But the most remarkable change is that I possess extra energy, which has given me the desire to grow closer to God. By diligently studying the Bible and praying heartfelt prayers as part of my healthy living regimen, my relationship with God is growing stronger. Yes, God does know what is best for us!
Please embrace the study of the Old Testament, which is full of real-life accounts of people who failed and succeeded. Thankfully, God tells us that His law, the Ten Commandments or the Health-laws will exist until we live in the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation chapters 21-22) where we will not need laws to prevent sin. For truly I tell you until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Matthew 5:18
Peter’s Vision and its’ Interpretation
15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Acts 10:15-16
Knowing that God’s dietary laws would never change, Peter was perplexed–completely baffled, and very puzzled. But this is the part that makes me so excited about serving God. He always reveals the truth to us. We are never left without an explanation that we can fully understand. God meets us exactly where we are in life, and then His miraculous power works to transform us into His standards of spiritual perfection.
Cornelius, a God-fearing Gentile obeyed the angel’s command to call for Simon Peter (Acts 10:1-8) to come to his home. When Peter traveled to Caesarea to see Cornelius, the Holy Spirit revealed the true meaning of the dream:
Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. Acts 10:28
Traditions or cultural guidelines that indicate and support segregation or distinguishing oneself as better than others are ungodly and unholy practices. Throughout the 33 years of Jesus’ interaction with others, He embraced the wealthy, poor, Jew, and Gentile. Read Joshua 2, which tells how God used Rahab the Harlot to fulfill His purpose.
God’s laws and commandments are based on love.
36 “Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” 37, Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”…Matthew 22:36-40
God has specifically cautioned us against breaking the second commandment involving love as the foundation in our relationships with others, Matthew 22:39. What does God consider as breaking His law on loving others? When we refuse to love and embrace all of humanity, first and foremost, we sin against God, the Creator. Hating individuals based on customs, traditions and differences, or possessing the mindset of “this is just the way it is, reveals that we support evil-doing.
The word, “hate” carries strength, and most will not admit that biases and prejudices are fruits from hatred. Have you ever admitted that the dislike you feel for others is hatred? The imaginary gray area was created by Satan to justify sin. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16. Dislike is not a characteristic of the love of God. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13.
God is love! And His unconditional love is to all and for all. When we are filled with pride and hatred or embrace traditional customs and prejudices, we are saying, “I do not believe in God nor do I wish to follow His commands.” God does not classify us with human standards such as lower, middle, or upper class. Neither does He have tolerance for biases based on social or economic status, caste systems that still maintain the undertone of exclusion because one is born into a certain level, prejudice, and discrimination of individuals based on their physical appearance.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:26-27. God is the most excellent Master Designer that we will ever know. From the flowers to the fruits and vegetables to His most outstanding creation, human beings, we are His masterpiece, and His world is still, Simply Amazing!
Throughout 40 plus years of nursing, I have experienced prejudice and racism from patients, co-workers, and physicians. Even unto a hospice patient saying, “Get away from me, don’t touch me!” before he took his last breath. Yes, Satan attempted to make me a victim and feel less than who God says I am. Even so, I have always known that I am a child of the Most-High God. If you are experiencing discrimination or any of the “isms,” first, affirm your status by telling yourself, “they can say what they want or mistreat me, but I know who created me and I know that I am a child of God.” An appropriate response of “God bless you” to others that Satan uses to belittle you will soon cause them to avoid you. Believe me, God’s name is the last thing that individuals who possess hatred desire to hear.
I want to leave you with Jesus’ encouraging words, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Believe and Receive His promises!
Now is the time to come to Jesus through prayer and ask for forgiveness if we have mistreated others based on religious, physical, gender, social, and economic statuses. Maybe you are or have been the victim of bias and prejudice, ask God to heal your wounded heart, and reaffirm who you belong to, the Most-High God. Our Heavenly Father loves us with a never-ending love!
Love God, Love Others, Love Yourself
God, we ask forgiveness for using our words or actions as swords to wound others. We failed to remember that you created all of humanity in your image and that your array of colors are perfect. We pray for the healing of all wounded hearts who continue to suffer from the “isms” of this world. God, please give us the strength to endure until your Son, Jesus Christ, comes for us. We look forward to living in the New Heaven and the New Earth, where we never have to experience any emotional pain or sorrows from this life. Thank you for creating the Sabbath, a Holy day that we can receive spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical rest from this world’s cares. We love you, God, and we ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen!
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.