The challenge to change

“When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God saying, ‘Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life’” (Acts 11:18). The circumcised believers were sharply critical of Peter when he arrived at Jerusalem because he had eaten with uncircumcised men. This went against everything they had been taught their whole lives. This went against everything they had believed their whole lives. Peter explained to them exactly what happened, step by step, that led him to eat with the circumcised men. His account ended with his explaining that the Holy Spirit had been given to the Gentiles just as it had been given to the Jews who believed in Jesus in the beginning. Their reaction, after listening to Peter recount the events that led to his change in behavior was silence. They had nothing more to say in speaking out against Peter’s behavior.  They were silenced, and then they praised God that the Gentiles could be saved. As I read this text I am reminded of times when I have been challenged to change my beliefs. Times when I have been challenged to rethink everything I had been taught and believed my whole life. Times when I have been challenged to change my behavior. I can think of several times when I was confronted with a challenged, at first pushed back, and eventually was silenced before breaking out in praise. What about you? When have you changed long-held beliefs? When have you changed long-practiced behaviors?

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