Saturday, December 1, 2012

We Little Dogs

We Little Dogs

 

But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” – Matthew 15:26
 
Racism is nothing new to an American.  We’ve been born into it, had our minds singed with its hatred, and only recently have begun healing this disease of the heart.  The idea that one race is superior to another is an abomination to the creator, who used nothing more than dust and the life that is in Him to make us.  How dare we say white is better than black, or black is better than yellow, or yellow is better than red?  Do we really believe that God, in choosing the various colors of our skin, saw one as greater than the other, or do we simply choose not to be like Him?
And why do we choose the color of skin to be the determinant in who we find acceptable or unacceptable?  Why not the color of our eyes, which is also different?  While we abhor the thought of Adolph Hitler, who was willing to destroy hundreds of thousands to create a blonde haired – blue eyed race, we hold the same hatred in our hearts.  God help us to see ourselves for who we really are!

The only point of favoritism we should hold in our hearts is for God’s people, regardless of skin color.  Today, this is the dividing line of God’s blessings, God’s wrath and love, and the only dividing He sees in people.  But if you go back to Genesis 17, you will see that we, the Gentiles (non-Jews) were once a minority.  We were not “God’s people”.  God’s covenant made with Abraham in Genesis 17 was with the Jews only.  Like it or not, we Gentiles would not have been given the ability to become God’s people had the Jew’s not have rejected Him.  In Romans 11:11 Paul speaks of the rejection of the Jews and says But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.” (For more information on Jews .vs. Gentiles, read Genesis 17, Deuteronomy 9, Romans 11).
Jesus gave the disciples a lesson in racial discrimination in Matthew 15:21-28.  As they walk through the streets of Tyre and Sidon, a Canaanite woman begins to follow them and plead with Jesus to heal her demon possessed daughter.  The Canaanites were Gentiles, and had long worshipped idols and gods of all imagination.  Jesus ignores her pleas to heal her daughter. 

She continues to beg Jesus, saying “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severaly demon-possessed.”  Yet, Jesus didn’t speak a word to her.  He waited.  And then the disciples spoke up, and said “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” 
From the depths of the disciples heart sprung up the discrimination they had learned against the Gentiles, and they found her to be unworthy of Jesus’ healing.  Was this the love of God? No.

But then Jesus answers her in what seems to be the most unloving way saying to her, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” It’s as if Jesus said, “Sorry, I can’t help you, your skin isn’t the right color.”  And in fact, Jesus was sent only for Israel, the Jews.  But again, you have to continue reading to see what Jesus’ intent was in answering so harshly. 
She came closer to Him, worshipped Him, and begged again “Lord, help me!”  And Jesus again answered her and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

Was Jesus racist? No.  This is Jesus.  This is the son of God who met the Samaritan woman at the well, against popular belief that the Jews were not to speak to the Samaritans.  This is Jesus, who ate with sinners and tax collectors.  This is Jesus, who takes on the sin of ALL to make us ALL righteous.  There is no hatred for a specific race in Jesus.  What He is telling her is that he was sent to save the Jews, and these are the chosen people of God.  The Gentiles at this point were not.  The Jews, in their self-righteousness, often called the Gentiles dogs.  And Jesus refers to them in the same manner, telling her that He is the bread of the Jews, and not the Gentiles.
I thank God that this Gentile woman, in her absolute faith in Him, did not quit seeking Him.  She replies, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  She understands that Jesus is Lord, and the table is His – not the Jews.  She understands that not all Jews will accept Him, and asks to receive the mercy that they have rejected.  There is no pridefulness in her.  She is humble to allow Jesus to call her a “little dog” if He wills.  She receives Him as He is, and begs for mercy.  Her faith made all the difference with Jesus.  She was no longer just another Gentile, but now, receives His blessings in the same way as one of His people. 

His reply to her was a response to her faith, as He said, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” Her daughter was healed that very hour. And what did the disciples learn?  Jesus is not partial to the Jews.  Jesus is not racist.  His mercy is not conditioned on skin color or race, but only on faith. Faith is what makes a Christian a Christian.  Faith is the only requirement for salvation, to become a child of God.
Families have traits that are inherited in them, such as skin color, chins, hairlines, or the shape of the eyes.  The family of God is also given an identifying trait in John 13:35.  We are told By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Friends, if you cannot love your brother or sister in Christ, regardless of skin color or nationality, you need to examine your heart.  It is impossible for you to truly love God, who you have not seen, if you do not love your brother and sister who you have seen (1 John 4:20).

In 2 Peter 2:9-10 we read of the race of God’s people.  Paul says But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, HIS OWN SPECIAL PEOPLE, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  who once WERE NOT A PEOPLE but are now THE PEOPLE OF GOD, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”  Our race is not a faction of our skin colors.  God does not look at our outward appearance, but at our hearts.  Our hearts are all colored the same through Jesus’ blood.  We are all one family.  Love one another.

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