Linda Bailey is currently in the Philippines leading a short-term mission trip. For two weeks she will be sharing some of her favourite REAP posts. Here is the REAP she has chosen for today…
I think we have created some fairly harsh unwritten rules that separate us from the people we are commanded to love (and that’s a written rule!)
Reference: v.14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” (NIV Bible)
Explore: There are written rules and unwritten rules all over the world. For example, if you drive in the car there are written rules which you must abide by. But there are also unwritten rules too. ‘You should always wave if someone lets you in’. This rule is certainly not written anywhere and the police will not pull you up if you disobey, but it’s just one of the many unwritten rules that people should abide by!
We have written rules as well as unwritten rules in our churches too. The written ones are hopefully based from the Bible but there are many unwritten rules too. Things like ‘You must never sit on the Communion table’ or ‘If anything goes wrong, blame the youth group’!!
However, I think we have created some fairly harsh unwritten rules that separate us from the people we are commanded to love (and that’s a written rule!) Things like we need to dress in a certain style, or act in a particular way for us to be accepted into the group.
Application: Peter had an idea of what was holy in God’s eyes. However, all of that changed when Jesus, in human flesh, brought God’s love, mercy and grace into the world. No longer were Gentiles (like Cornelius) excluded from God’s love, and no longer were religious standards surrounded by legalistic structure. Peter had a vision to embrace that which he once thought unclean. I think we too, need to analyse what truly is classified as unclean and what is just our security blanket for keeping the ‘undesirables’ out. We can create just as many barriers to ‘protect’ our faith. I think it’s time we started breaking down the walls and showing all people God’s love and acceptance.
Prayer: Lord, forgive us for putting our unwritten rules around Your Love. Broaden our minds to love and accept all that You have created. Amen.
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.