Rahab went up to talk to the men before they retires for the night.
"I know perfectly well that your God is going to give my country to you," she told them. "We are all afraid of you; everyone is terrified if the word Israel is even mentioned. For we have heard how the Lord made a path through the Red Sea for you when you left Egypt! And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan, and how you ruined their land and completely destroyed their people. No wonder we are afraid of you! No one has any fight left in him after hearing things like that, for your God is the supreme God of heaven, not just an ordinary god. Now I beg for this one thing: Swear to me by the sacred name of your God that when Jericho is conquered you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families. This is only fair after the way I have helped you."
The men agreed. "If you won't betray us, we'll see to it that you and your family aren't harmed," they promised. "We'll defend you with our lives." Then, since her house was on top of the city wall, she let them down by a rope from a window.
"I accept your terms," she replied. And she left the scarlet rope handing from the window.
Joshua 2: 8-15, 21 (TLB)
For God treats everyone the same. Romans 2:11 (TLB)
Kimberly Rice Smith lives in North Carolina. "She's not like us," the woman said as they cleaned the church kitchen. Smiling, Kimberly turned to her and said, "And isn't that great?" Unmoved, she walked away without replying.
When we truly open the doors of our churches and our hearts, we need to be ready for people who are "not like us." If we greet them with acceptance, not just tolerance, we open ourselves to a variety of experiences. New people, different people, can lead to diversity in music, in dress, and maybe even in the menu for church luncheons.
As her sister in Christ expressed her discomfort with someone who wasn't like her, Kimberly wonder if that was how the women of Israel discussed Rahab when she joined them. Did they consider her unworthy of divine purpose because her life was so very different than theirs? Did they feel more worthy than she to be used for God's plan?
The timeless beauty communicated in Rahab's story is that the outsider is loved and welcomed into the loving heart of God. As the people of God, Christians are called to carry out this hospitality on earth.
Today, let's look at each person we pass with open and loving eyes. Let's step beyond tolerance into acceptance and learn to love others for their place in God's plan.
Prayer: Dear God, give us open hearts, minds, and eyes to see how beautiful our differences can be. Help us to trust your creativity, in Jesus' name. Amen.