In the Bible, there were Jewish believers who traveled with Peter who had a hard time digesting the idea that the Holy Spirit–God’s gift provided to believers which make us different, unique and standout–could be found in the lives of the Gentiles, who were a group of other believers.
The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too… (Peter said) Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did? (Acts 10:45, 47 NLT)
It’s hard for people to stomach that inequality can exist even within the church, the Body of Christ. The truth is inequality can exist anywhere, even amongst believers. Inequality can be targeted at the smallest of differences within people. The easiest and most popular (common) of inequalities are that of physical differences such as race, color, and nationality; but have you given any thought to other ways we
are administrators of inequality? For example age? What about church denominations, geography, and my favorite would have to be social status based upon income? When we come to Christ, we bring all our behavioral traits and such preferences with us. We must have an open mind and a set focus on the things that really matter.
A prayer leader I know taught me a great principle as it relates to having a different perspective regarding church differences. He said that God did a great thing! It messed me up; I wondered could it be that what I thought wasn’t so good (common)–all the various churches, some of which I don’t understand–is truly the mark that God has done a good thing? For 2000+ years, churches have been established and more continue each day. In most of America’s major cities you can find a church on every city block. God has given us churches in various flavors in which the differences are many and can be an easy target for inequality. Inequality amongst churches can be avoided if we decide to look at the things we share, for example having the same gift, having followers of Christ, proclaiming Jesus as Lord, and seeking to point “the lost” in the right direction. What God has done in the church is good and no one can object to that!
Inequality means you’re taking the common path, not looking for equality which is the no-longer-common path. You’re focusing on the wrong thing which is not appreciating the things that make us different, while valuing the things that make us so much alike.
What I noticed in the scripture above is the gift that was present in both groups was the same and didn’t discriminate. So why should we? They then made the decision to include the other group and forgot about their differences. If differences are a challenge for you, do like these believers and focus on the gifts that make you alike. This is an uncommon (no-longer-common) behavior –fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Question: What small differences within people can you relate to as a target of inequality? Leave your comments.