Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We are more alike than you think

Hello again - welcome back to A Good Bible Study!

Let's pray right away for God to give us wisdom and understanding as we get into His Word.

Lord, we want to know Your thoughts, show us what is important to You. We want to love what You love, show us who and what You love. Strip away our prejudices and open our eyes to people the way You see them, not the way we've learned to see. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Have you ever had an experience in which you meet someone and think they are so different than you, you just won't have anything in common, then as you get to know them, you see you are so much alike that you begin to believe this could be one of the great friendships of your life?

I had just that sort of experience recently. I met a woman that at first glance, seemed so different than me, from a culture that seemed foreign to my eyes, and who I thought would have no interest in me either. I prepared to dismiss any thought of conversation with her until the Holy Spirit asked me, "How do you think she feels being in a room full of people who look more like each other than they look like her? Wow. I never considered that she might feel alone.

I started a conversation with her and we spent most of the event we were at, laughing and talking like two long-lost best friends. I was amazed at just how much we did have in common, may be not in looks or in background, but in ideas and humor and aspirations. Meeting my friend was one of the highlights of the event.

Isn't it great to know that God created us all so much alike, and it is only our own expectations that make us believe we are too different to relate to one another? If that's the case, we can change, and be blessed by so many more friendships than we ever thought possible, when we thought we had to stick to only those who looked like we do.

Read Acts 10:34-35

Then Peter opened his mouth and said, "In truth I perceive that God has no _____________. But in every nation whoever fears (respect, reverence, awe) Him and works righteousness is ___________ by Him.

Go on to Acts 10:43

To Him all prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him, will receive _________ of sins.

Read James 2:1-4

God only sees our hearts, not the statistically insignificant differences we all seem to think are so important.

Is there someone you have decided is not worth pursuing in friendship because they look different, have different tastes in clothing or hairstyle, wear jewelry anywhere except in their ears, or grew up in a different culture?

What does God's Word say about the way we judge others and decide who is worth talking with, or not?

How can I live out His truths in the way I interact with everyone I encounter, regardless of their dress, way of talking, color, or background?

What do we need to understand in order to be kind and merciful to people?

Let's finish with James 2:13 NIV: Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

Father, open our eyes - teach us to show mercy and kindness to everyone we meet. Help us to let down the self-imposed walls of superiority and see others as they are in Your sight: as our siblings in Christ. Let me accept my sisters and brothers as being in Your care, knowing You are helping them where they are at, which might surprise me to know is often much closer to love, wisdom, and truth than may be where I am at.

Help me to be one person in their life today who accepts them as what they are, someone who is more like me than different. Someone who makes mistakes and also experiences success, who is searching for love and acceptance, searching for a deeper relationship with God, just like me. In Jesus' name, amen.

Love, Karen

Photo by Graur Codrin, courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

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