This blog entry is based on the story of Peter and Cornelius from Acts chapter 10.

What’s the story about?

The story makes it clear that the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, is for all people.

Historically there had been a distinction between Jews and non-Jews or gentiles. Jews saw themselves as God’s chosen people and everyone else as an outsider. But Jesus put an end to that distinction through his death on the cross and his resurrection.

For he (Jesus) himself is our peace, who has made the two groups (Jews and non-Jews) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility

Ephesians 2:14 (NIV)

God has to get Peter’s attention (not just because he is hungry and his mind is wandering during his prayer time). Peter doesn’t realise there is a problem. Despite all that Peter has experienced he still believes in the Jew non-Jew distinction and his beliefs affect his attitudes.

Peter’s attitudes and beliefs are a hinderance to the growth of the church – this event marks a massive breakthrough in the development of the church. What a great way to get his attention! The Holy Spirit is saying – you’re hungry? Well, here comes lunch!

Why am I sharing this?

We have been using the phrase “Roots down, walls down” as a helpful reminder of our 2 priorities. The importance of Putting our “Roots down” into our relationship with God, with our church family and with others. And bringing the “Walls down” that exist between us and others.

These can be internal walls or external walls. Walls between us and others in our own church family, walls between us and other Christians, and walls between us and others in society in general. Whilst it is sad that walls exist it is best to be honest and acknowledge them – then we can work to bring them down.

One word we could use to describe some walls is prejudice – this can be an emotive word which people quickly react against, “I’m not prejudiced!” – but consider this definition:

Prejudice: an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge


Prejudice is often deep-seated; sometimes we realise we have a prejudice, sometimes we don’t.

What can we do about it?

1. Prayerfully Reflect

Both men were praying; an angel spoke to Cornelius, the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter. These were ordinary times of prayer – but both men had the habit of praying. The result? A breakthrough!

For the individuals
For the church

We miss out on so much if we neglect prayer. Don’t give up on the discipline of regular prayer. Ask, what prejudices do I have that create a wall between me and someone else? Where are my blind spots?

Try using Psalm 139:23-24 as a structure for prayer

2. Honestly recognise

Be honest, acknowledge your discomfort. Face it. Maybe you’re already aware.

This is an important step – if you know you have a prejudice you can do something about it. Be open, not defensive.

3. Earnestly repent

Be sorry, say sorry (to God). Change your behaviour (includes thoughts, speech, actions). Counter a lack of thought by spending time prayerfully thinking about your prejudice. Counter a lack of knowledge by working at gaining knowledge – read, watch, talk to others

Trevor Shotter