No Need for Fear or Favoritism

Denise Vredevoogd

Read: Acts 10:9-35

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (vv. 34-35 NIV)

Thousands of people looked up the definition of the word xenophobia last year on Dictionary.com. People heard the word and wanted to know what it means. It became that website’s 2016 Word of the Year. One definition reads “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers.” According to the dictionary’s blog, the word’s roots are two Greek words, xenos meaning “stranger, guest,” and phobos meaning “fear, panic.” No one can deny that there is a lot to fear, but we have a choice in how we respond. And while we may teach our children to be wary of strangers, as adults God calls us to love strangers.

God sees people differently than we do, especially outsiders. Recall that Jonah sees the people of Nineveh as Israel’s enemies, whereas God has compassion on them when they repent. Likewise, during the early days of the church, God shows Peter a vision and tells him to visit Cornelius, a Gentile, confirming that the good news of Jesus is for everyone, not just for Jews. God wants to dispel cultural divisions caused by fear or hate. He has created all people and wants us to replace fear with his all-inclusive love. —Denise Vredevoogd

Prayer: Creator of all, remove any fear of “others” and give us courage and love to accept and reach out to people from every nation.