If you want to do the work of God, pay attention to people. Notice them. Especially the people nobody else notices. — John Ortberg, Love Beyond Reason
Have you ever heard a prayer that sounded more like a punch? Imagine this: Every morning, many Orthodox Jewish men would pray a prayer that went like this: "Bless me, God, that He did not make me a Gentile. Bless me, God, that He did not make me ignorant or a slave. Bless me, God, that He did not make me a woman."
Ouch. Three punches in a row: Racism. Elitism. Sexism.
Although Paul was probably raised on that prayer, he radically broke rank and wrote a new proclamation that conveyed the social dynamics of God's new Kingdom and His desire for the new body of Christ. It went like this:
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
It's a stunning reversal of the Jewish prayer, revealing a practical transformation in the way we can see:
- "You thank God I'm not a Gentile?" No! In Christ there's no longer Jew nor Gentile.
- "You thank God I'm not a slave?" Not anymore! In Christ there is neither slave nor free.
- "You thank God I'm not a woman?" Forget it! In Christ there are only co-heirs of the promise—for we are all one in Christ Jesus.
These are radical statements, friends. Which leads us back to an extraordinary element of the Gospel: Each of us is His favorite, so there can be no favoritism!
Jesus wants to change the way we see people—the way you see people. Are you willing to let Him give you new eyes today?
El Roi, God who Sees, I have imperfect vision and can often be caught looking at myself. I pray today for healing in the area of favoritism. Uproot this from my life. Give me Your eyes to see the way You see, so I can notice people that no one else notices. Please reveal one person in need today, then speak to me about how to love that person. Amen.
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