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Daily Devotionals

Day 3 – Issue 21

todayMay 1, 2015 4

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Be Still Know

Mark 7:27 NLT

Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children – my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

Family life significantly shapes us. I discovered one aspect of this on my first Christmas married to Katey. We dived into Christmas preparations only to discover conflict as the family traditions we carried into our marriage were very different. What made Christmas significant for me was unknown to Katey, and vice versa. From initial conflict we began to listen to each other’s traditions, learned to compromise and then begin to establish our own.

Mark records a harsh interchange when Jesus directly calls a woman a dog, or puppy. This is less xenophobia than it is to highlight the closed mindset of the Jewish authorities. All Gentiles were regarded as lesser, as dogs, by the Jews. Jesus in provocative style tests this woman’s resolve. Will she perceive herself defined by the overarching culture in which she lives? Jesus is off limits here, for Tyre was a Gentile region and generally despised by the Jews. Perhaps that’s why he was there in some secrecy.

One of the biggest challenges we face is to refuse to be defined by others. My wife Jayne’s school teacher may have told her that she’d amount to nothing, yet that is only true if she believes it to be. This Gentile woman pushes back on Jesus and declares that dogs eat scraps which provide all the nourishment they need. So by all means feed table guests first, but allow the dogs to devour what falls to the floor.

In finding God’s love and acceptance we often have to push back against others’ descriptions of us and break the hold of that definition over our own life. This is not how God sees us. We equally have to resist the temptation to stereotype others who, while different from us physically, racially or religiously, have far more similarity with us than difference. Difference most often provokes defensiveness and division; similarity encourages collaboration and cohesion.

QUESTION: Are you guilty of stereotyping people or groups of people?

PRAYER: Lord God, help me to see your image in every person I meet.

Written by: Matt Weet

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