Do You Criticize What You Don’t Understand?
Peter returns to Jerusalem, amazed at what God has shown him: God doesn’t just want to save Jewish people, but non-Jews (Gentiles), too. He has a heart for all people. Imagine that.
The Jewish believers, however, are quick to criticize Peter. Even though Jesus set the tradition-breaking precedent of embracing non-Jews, when Peter veers from their Jewish beliefs to go into a Gentile home and eat with them, his friends become critical. His actions do not fit their worldview, and they are quick to disapprove. They criticize what they don’t understand.
Throughout church history, we often see people who are critical of what they don’t understand, of spiritual practices or movements of God that are different. In too many cases, people are killed over these theological nuances. Today, this would cause a quick division, breaking friendships, destroying relationships, and even splitting churches. These people close their ears to the truth, when they should listen with an open mind, willing to accept God at work—even when it challenges their practices or confronts their status quo.
This, however, is not what happened two thousand years ago. The people listen as Peter explains the situation, and once they understand, they adjust their perspective and praise God.
We will do well to follow their example and not criticize what we don’t understand. They deserve it, and God deserves it.
Read more about the book of Acts in Dear Theophilus, Acts: 40 Devotional Insights for Today’s Church now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.