Prejudice is difficult to overcome, and some prejudice is always with us.
The Jewish Christians of the Jerusalem church had grown up believing they – Jews – were God’s chosen people. Their prejudice was that only Jews could be Christians. As you move through the New Testament story, that prejudice dies hard. Actually, in the early church, it never really died at all.
When Peter returned to Jerusalem he was accosted by Christians who challenged his faithfulness because he went into the home of a gentile and ate with them. Peter had violated Jewish custom.
In Acts 11 Peter relates the story of Cornelius and it is the third time we’ve read it in two chapters. His point then was that God had opened the door for all people to become Christians no matter their race. The church certainly seemed to accept it (verse 18), but as we will see in chapter 15, accepting it mentally is one thing. Accepting it in your heart is another.
Our prejudices are conditioned by our experiences and influences and customs also play a large role. We can’t keep our prejudices from coming to the forefront of our lives, but we can learn to recognize them and we should ask ourselves if these prejudices keep us from doing the will of God (as they obviously kept the Jerusalem church from being evangelistic). We can also ask ourselves if they keep us from living like Jesus. An affirmative answer to either of these questions makes getting rid of that prejudice a requirement of (and for) salvation.