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SPEAKING TRUTH: Thankfulness for the people we denounce

Our eyes light up when we see our holiday table filled with multitudes of Thanksgiving favorites. Moist and flavorful turkey. The best homemade mash potatoes. Warm and buttery dinner rolls, tasty desserts, and much more. Then before we start passing the food and filling up our plates, we offer a prayer of thanks to God. And our prayer, like the food on our table, is often filled with things we like and are grateful for. Obviously, it would seem odd to pray about things we do not care for, and to sit down at a dinner table overflowing with food we do not like.

However – what if we could learn to be thankful for those things we look down on? Let me explain.

Peter was a close disciple of Jesus. One day he fell into a trans-like state and saw a great sheet coming down from heaven. On it were all sorts of animals. Then a voice was heard that said, “‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.’ And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’” (Acts 10:13-15) This vision with the sheet repeated itself three times, then Peter woke up and wondered what it all meant.

About the same time some men came to the house where Peter was staying, looking for him. After visiting with them, the next day Peter traveled with the men to the home of Cornelius, the Roman centurion who inquired of him.

Shortly after arriving Peter addressed the group gathered in Cornelius’ home, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.” (Acts 10:28)

Peter realized how God used the sheet of animals to teach him something. He learned how the people he rejected, because they were a different race and religion than him, were created by God just like the Jewish people were. He learned how God wanted him to go to the non-Jews, and befriend them so they could hear the good news of Jesus.

It is written, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving…” (1 Timothy 4:4) Peter came to realize that God made both the Jews and non-Jews, and both are good and to be given thanks for.

When it comes to being thankful, we tend to be thankful for only those things we view as good, and are ungrateful for those things we reject and look down upon, like Peter did. Through the power of the Lord God though, Peter was able to change and give thanks for that which he once despised.

Racial differences are a point of division in our modern world. But imagine with me if hearts were changed like Peter’s? What if a Jew could give God thanks for the Arab, and the Arab for the Jew? What if a white man could give God thanks for a black man, and likewise, a black man for a white man? Imagine if a person of one race, saw a person of another race, not as someone to be rejected and looked down upon, but as a person created by God and someone to be given thanks for?

Jesus’ life, death and resurrection all served to enable this. When a person enters into a covenant relationship with Him, they are instantly filled with the love of God. This causes them to be thankful for that which they used to be ungrateful, and compels them to lovingly serve those people whom they once rejected.

A prayer for you: Lord God, this Thanksgiving help us to be thankful for the things in life and the people in life, whom we have previously rejected. For you have made all things, and called them good. Fill our hearts with your Spirit, so we can love others as you do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Please share your comment with Clint at and follow his blog at

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