While the average Decimus and common Shmuel of the day passed each other in the street, perhaps Straight, they never shared anything except maybe a laugh. Romans and Jews did not associate beyond necessary commerce and societal demands. That is why the words of Luke as found in Acts 10 are so shocking.
Acts 10:22a,b (NIV)
The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people."
The Jewish people respected Cornelius, a Roman. Don't miss the power of that statement. To help establish the impact, think of it in this way - the people oppressed day-by-day respected one of the soldiers of the oppressing nation. The man who represented their lack of freedom was the recipient of their respect.
Now, that does not necessarily and probably does not mean that they . . .
But, nevertheless, they respected him. Why? Luke informs us of two of the reasons.
I believe that one of the best things we could do in our so often fractured society today is to respect one another. While that applies across the board (the breadth of society), I suggest we start with the Body of Christ, the Church.
On a regular basis while in conversation with people, I tell them how within Rabbit Creek Church, we have "Blue" people and "Red" people; we have pro-vaccination individuals and no-way vaccination folks. Some Rabbit Creekers watch Fox and others tune into CNN, and others ignore the news outlets as much as possible. We make that work because we respect one another. We respect one another because we love Jesus together.
The last thing I want, as a pastor, is to lead a flock of birds of a feather. We welcome people, regardless of the nature of their feathers, to come join us in a journey of loving God and loving neighbor as we live our everyday, Ordinary lives for Christ. None of that would be possible without the key element known as respect.
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