Paul’s Challenge of Discrimination

“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.” (Galatians 2:11)

Paul spoke in Galatians about God not showing favouritism to anyone. Now at the time there were Gentiles being added to the church. This went against Jewish tradition as historically the Jews did not associate with people from other cultures. It was Peter who God showed the vision which was interpreted to mean that God had made all people equal and loved. And as such, it was ungodly for him to discriminate because no one whom God made was uncommon or unclean. (Acts 10)

Paul’s ministry was mainly to the uncircumcised or to those who were not Jews and he observed that Peter’s behaviour was often discriminatory. “For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.” (Galatians 2:12) Paul noticed that Peter was too afraid of the opinion of others and treated the Gentiles differently depending on who was around.

The Devil does not like unity and we have to guard against favouritism and discrimination. It is often easiest to associate with the people who look like, think like and act like us. We can sometimes create circles that unfairly exclude other people. This should not be the case among Christians and we should remember that heaven will include people from every nation and culture.

We have to make an intentional effort to try to understand other people’s way of life. We have to continuously make an effort to ensure that people within our sphere of influence feel valued, worthy of acceptance, loved and included. This is especially important for people in positions of leadership. Organisations and groups that include diverse input in the creation and implementation of programs do better as this guarantees a rich blend of experience and expertise. This in an effort to meet the needs of a diverse audience which impacts the growth and relevance of our organisations.

A.P.-Y.

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