God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.
In our last post from the book of Acts we looked at five reasons God might have given Cornelius his life changing vision. If you want to, you can find that post here: 5 Things About Cornelius (or 5 reasons God might have given Cornelius his life changing vision)–Acts 10:1-8. In today’s post we’re going to travel back in time.
Twice now I’ve travelled through time and had a conversation with my younger self. If you’re interested you can check out those two previous conversations here, An Important Conversation With My Younger Self: Acts 3:22-23, and here, Another Important Conversation With My Younger Self: John 13:35 (and Matthew 22:36-40). Today I’ll be having a conversation with my younger self about Acts 10:9-48, and what that passage has to do with idiots.
Read Acts 10:9-48
A Third Conversation with My Younger Self
Old Kurt: “Hi. I’m back.”
Young Kurt: “Again?”
Old Kurt: “Yes, again.”
Young Kurt: “And . . . what do you want to talk about now?”
Old Kurt: “The idiots.”
Young Kurt: “Which ones?”
Old Kurt: “All of them.”
Young Kurt looks slightly confused and annoyed. “What do you mean, all of them?”
Old Kurt: “So, remember when Peter was praying on the housetop of Simon the tanner and he saw the vision of ‘common and unclean’ animals, and the voice came to him and told him to kill and eat?”
Young Kurt: “Yes.”
Old Kurt: “So there’s an interesting thing about tanners. They tanned hides all day which meant it was necessary to touch dead animals all day, and touching dead animals made a person unclean. And yet here we see Peter staying at Simon the tanner’s house. It seems God was already doing something to change Peter, even before he had this vision.
“And then he has the vision about the ‘common and unclean’ animals and the voice Peter hears in his vision says, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’
“And just after the vision, right as Peter was thinking and analyzing and trying to figure out what the vision might mean, the Holy Spirit said to Peter: Three men are looking for you. Go with them without hesitation, for I have sent them.
“And Peter goes with these Gentiles, and he shows up at the house of Cornelius the centurion, and he’s met by Cornelius and a group of Cornelius’s friends and relatives. And Cornelius falls down at Peter’s feet and worships him. But Peter said, ‘Stand up; I too am a man.’
“And Peter shares about Jesus with these Gentiles, and the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard him. And they were amazed that the Holy Spirit was poured out on Gentiles. And Peter had them baptized.”
Young Kurt: “Thanks for the refresher. But what does that have to do with me and with all the idiots I encounter?”
Old Kurt: “The Gentiles are the idiots, if you will.”
A quizzical expression comes over young Kurt’s face.
Old Kurt continues: “I know most of the time you think you’re the smartest guy in the room, and that you’re more knowledgeable than the people around you. But God is going to change that.
“I know that right now you think you’re doing pretty well compared to most people when it comes to following Jesus, and in many ways you are doing well. It’s just that you’ve been blessed with some gifts that others haven’t. And when other people don’t meet your expectations, well, you call them idiots, if not out loud, in your heart and mind and soul.”
Young Kurt: “Seriously though, is there really any hope for some of these people? What about the ones who are beyond idiots? What about the ones who are ignorant, or evil, or both? You know, the irredeemable ones.”
Old Kurt: “Yesterday I learned about a racist white man who beat an African-American man. Years later that racist white man came to the black man he had beaten and asked him for forgiveness. The two men cried and embraced each other. They reconciled.
“We can’t know what God is doing inside of another person.”
Young Kurt: “Well, I mean, to be honest, sometimes we can have a pretty good idea.”
Old Kurt: “Can we? Listen, I know you think you’re doing OK right now in terms of walking with Jesus, and I also know you think as you get older that you’ll feel even better about it, but I’m afraid that’s just not the case. As you get older you’re going to study Jesus more, and as you study Jesus you’re going to experience a greater awareness of the gap between who you are and who He is.
“And then there will be the revelations.”
Young Kurt: “Revelations?”
Old Kurt: “As you get older, God will start to reveal things to you that you weren’t previously aware of. Character flaws. So I guess I’m just trying to give you a head start on at least one of those character flaws. When you’re older, you’re not going to call anyone an idiot anymore.”
Young Kurt: “I know I’m not perfect! I know I have flaws!”
Old Kurt: “I know you know. I was you, remember. But I’m not talking about those flaws and shortcomings. I’m talking about a whole new set of flaws and shortcomings. Flaws that are obnoxious. You’re currently oblivious to these flaws.
“But when you become aware of them, you’ll be mortified.”
Young Kurt remains quiet, but old Kurt can tell he’s thinking and analyzing and trying to figure out what all this might mean.
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus) now available on Amazon!
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.
As I am transitioning into Old Adam (haha), These reflection posts are so true and applicable advice for me and to help share with my daughters and son.
I’m transitioning into Old Kurt more rapidly than ever these days! Makes me happy to hear you found this post helpful Adam. It’s always great to hear from you.
Pingback: God’s Inclusivity (and how He desires to connect with you)–Acts 11:1-18 | God Running