Not Excluding Others
The prophet Jonah seems to be a bit of a racist. Running from God, and ending up in the belly of a fish, he cries out for forgiveness and gets it. While he is happy to accept a second chance from God, he doesn’t think the people of Nineveh deserve one. He clearly thinks that people like him deserve second chances, while people like them, do not. It seems Jonah needs to learn a lesson about not excluding others, a lesson we may need to learn as well.
In Acts 10, Peter had to be dragged, almost kicking and screaming, into telling Gentiles about Jesus. The prejudice of spiritual insiders, it seems, is strong. Like Peter, we might struggle to show concern to outsiders. When we classify ourselves as Christians (insiders with God) and others as Non-Christians (outsiders with God) we subtly bias ourselves against those outside the church. We must remember we all started there, and only find ourselves where we do because of God’s grace. When we start to see ourselves as better than others, we lose the outward orientation necessary to do mission. God loves us all and not excluding others is how we ought to respond to that love.
Questions for Reflection
- Do you think it’s easy to be dismissive of our own sin and judgemental towards others? Why?
- Who are the ‘thems’ in our lives? Who do we have the hardest time identifying with?
- How might changing our perception of those outside the church change the way we do mission?
Other sermons in this series