God, you have chosen me to bring a message of reconciliation because you have changed my heart. Give me the strength to take a message of love and forgiveness to people in my family, my church, and my community!
Sometimes the people closest to you, are the ones that hurt you the most. The apostle Peter, recently being freed of his prejudice toward Gentiles, now returns to Jerusalem to meet with ‘the brothers’ to tell them the exciting things God is doing among the Gentiles. When Peter gets there ‘the brothers’ criticize him harshly for breaking Jewish religious law and eating with Gentiles. Imagine this criticism coming from people in the Early Church who had pledged to love and be kind to each other! Peter, who has been changed by his recent experiences, tells them about his new-found relationship with Cornelius, a Gentile. He tells them that whereas he would have been wary to go to the house of a Gentile with three strange men, “The Holy Spirit told [him] to go with them and not to worry” (v 12). After sharing this great story, ‘the brothers’ had no problem with Peter. The church was once again unified, and God poured out a huge blessing upon them, allowing great numbers of people to come to faith.
Are you jealous when you hear a good report from another believer about how God is working in and through them? Do you share their excitement? Honest?
Listen carefully to others and be a blessing to them by serving and helping them.
Lord, remove from me the spirit of criticism. Let me be about building up and not tearing down.