I am nervous to post about this because I do not know if I am taking the Scripture out of context. So before you read, know that I am not a scholar of the bible. I am simply a reader and a responder. So here is what I read and here is my response.
In light of the topics I have been learning in school (race, homosexuality and transgender issues, religion, etc) there are a number of people in this world we tend to keep at a arms distance. They are wrong. We are right. They are dirty. We are clean. Whether it is conscious or not, we all have a bias against different traditions, cultures, values, and beliefs. What does God say?
Well in Acts, there is a Jew by the name of Peter who approaches a group of Gentiles and says, "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with Gentiles or visit them. 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." Acts 10:27-29
It is not our duty to label someone impure or unclean. Yes they may live a different lifestyle than us, but that does not mean we can decide who is IN and who is OUT. That is not our role.
Later on in Acts 10, "Peter began to speak: 'I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts those from every nation who fear him and do what is right.'" Acts 10:34
So, God does now show favortism. It does not matter where you are from or the color of your skin, as long as you fear God and do what is right.
AV thought: What does "do what is right" mean? I do something wrong everyday. Does that mean I am out? Hmm. We are so quick to judge others that we forget to judge ourselves...
I have been learning a lot about culture & diversity lately; not just in my academic life, but in my spiritual and personal life as well. I have experienced more emotion in the past month than I have in several years. Emotions of anger, sadness, guilt, and desires to make a change and take action. My eyes have been opened to issues of power, privilege, racism, oppression, discrimination, and other situations that are hard to swallow. I used to think I had really thick skin, but apparently there are still some things that can shock me and move me to tears.
I am thankful for these realizations though. I am becoming more in tune with reality, which is SO good. However, when one is in tune with reality, one starts to carry its burden; which is what I have been doing. I have been feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders for the past month, which is not exactly healthy. However if I let it go, I'm afraid I will let go of everything I have learned. I do not want to forget this stuff. I do not want to go back to the thoughts and ideas I used to have. Yes, being in this position of knowing what's real and true is hard, but I would rather know the truth than be in a bubble of bliss that is not in all in tune with reality.
I must say, carrying this burden is exhausting. Yes, I want to change the world but I cannot do it single handedly. We all have a sphere of influence and I commit to doing what I can to impact that sphere. Knowing that takes a lot of the weight off of my shoulders. However, there is still weight to be carried.
Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
I need to realize I cannot save the world on my own. I need God. I need His strength and His power. I need his encouragement and his hope. I need to know He is in control. I need His bird's eye perspective. I need to understand that this world is messed up which is why we need a Savior in the first place. I need God. I need God. I NEED GOD!!! I will not get through this career, or better yet, this life, without Him. He is my sanity.
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye on you" Psalm 32:8
Jesus, thank you for showing me the way. Thank you for trusting me enough to place the cry of those in need on my heart. Help me to let go of these burdens and give them to you. Thanks for being with me of this journey. Let's do this...