And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. Acts 10:13 -15
How inclusive is your faith? Does it accommodate people from other Christian denominations? Are you tolerate to other believers who happen not to go to your own church? The test of our Christianity is in the unity of our faith. How open minded is your faith?
In reaching out to the masses, the early church encountered radical turnaround in the way they worshiped God. Most of them having come from the Jewish background, found it unusual to worship with Gentiles (non-Jews). However, because Christ had died for the sins of the whole world, God had to open the gates of the Gospel to be preached to non-Jews, even to the entire ends of the world. In achieving this, God used animals that He had forbidden the Jews to eat, to deliver a message to Peter. In this, God illustrated to Peter that the gospel has no boundaries.
Therefore, whoever was willing to hear and believe in the Gospel of Christ, was welcome to the faith. When Peter brought the news that a gentile named Cornelius had become a believer in Christ, the believers in Jerusalem were shocked and did not know how to respond.
However, Peter said that God had overcome his objections and led him to Cornelius. In fact, God had given Cornelius the Holy Spirit—proof of salvation. After Peter’s colleagues heard the whole story, they praised God and accepted this new development as great news (Acts 11:2-18).
As this incident shows, conflict with other Christians may arise over important faith issues. When this happens, we should guard ourselves against the bias of our initial reaction. We need to listen and speak respectfully, not jump to conclusions that promote divisive results. Have an open mind as you hear what others have to say.
Consider everything in the light of the will of God revealed in Christ Jesus who earnestly prayed for the unity of all believers, John 17.
Before judging the behavior of fellow believers, let them tell their side of the story. The Holy Spirit may have something important to teach you through them.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your Word. I pray I am tolerating to others and that I exercise my faith with the aim for the unity of all. Teach me to walk in oneness with others. I pray for an understanding heart with the ability to discern the perfect will of God in Christ Jesus. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.