We all have people and people groups in our lives that we uniquely deem as “other” because of various factors. And it is precisely this categorization of the “other” that is antithetical to the truth of the gospel. Because of the gospel there can be no “others,” but only potential sisters and brothers.
Galatians 2 looks at Paul’s confrontation of Peter’s hypocrisy and the way in which he turned his Gentile sisters and brothers back into “others.” This behavior was not just unkind or even sinful. But according to Paul it was “not in step with the truth of the gospel.”
In light of this truth, you may find this prayer of confession helpful. May the gospel be rooted deep in our hearts in such a way that it compels us to walk in step with its truth everyday, everywhere, and with everyone.
Father in heaven, we come to you as the One in whom every family on earth derives its name. We come to you, the creator of this world and the author of all that is good, true, and beautiful. We acknowledge that You have made humanity in all of our glorious diversity to reflect and image Your glorious divinity.
Yet we find within all of us the ability and desire to divide and despise fellow image bearers whom we deem as being “other.”
Father, forgive us for such naive, ignorant, and ungodly mindsets that tear down what You have built. We confess that we have in various ways lived out of step with the gospel. The gospel that shows no partiality and that reconciles all peoples together as they are reconciled to You on the basis of Christ’s shed blood on our behalf.
Lord, help us to see where this gospel has not taken root in our hearts. Where we either desire to keep people divided or where we are simply indifferent to the division we see.
We confess that we are guilty of not only lacking understanding and compassion towards those who are different from us, but that we have often justified our indifference and our prejudice in ungodly ways.
We confess our pride that places us over and above other people, which perpetuates a mindset and culture that continues to be out of step with the gospel.
Oh, gracious Redeemer, we ask that the light of the gospel would shine into the darkness of our ignorance. We ask that the love of the gospel would warm our hearts towards our neighbors of all backgrounds. We ask that the peace of the gospel would captivate our imaginations and mobilize us in our vocations to work towards the shalom that you are building everything towards. We ask that the reconciling power of the gospel would crucify our hostility and resurrect in its place a godly hospitality that boldly declares, “in Christ the many are made one.”
Do this work in us and through us that the power of the gospel might be put on display for the world to see and for the world to know.
We pray in Christ’s name and for His glory.