“Yuck!” was my reaction when I saw this photo of a soup ladle in a murky squat toilet filled with floating meatballs.
It is a real photo taken at a “Jamban Café” in Semarang, Indonesia. Patrons of this toilet-themed café sat on toilet seats around a table where they dined on the traditional Indonesian “bakso” (a type of meatballs) bobbing in soup-filled latrines.
It was supposedly an ingenious idea aimed at educating people about sanitation and encouraging them to use designated toilets.
Personally I felt that even though the toilet bowls are absolutely clean, sanitary and hygienic yet eating from them is way too revolting, nauseating and disgusting.
I believe the apostle Peter had this similar experience in the vision God gave him in Acts 10:9-16.
It was noon and Peter was hungry. While they were preparing his meal, Peter saw the sky opened and something like a large sheet was let down and in it were all sorts of animals, reptiles and birds – the kind that a good Jew is not supposed to eat.
Then a voice from heaven says, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.” Peter knew exactly who was talking to him. And he said, “No, Lord. I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.”
And the Lord said to Peter in the vision that was repeated three times:
“Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean” (Acts 10:15 NLT).
Those words of God were the precursor that welcomed the Gentiles into the Kingdom of Heaven.
But those words are still relevant for us today. God says, “Clean.” But in our minds we think, “Not clean enough.”
We imagine certain types of people should not be in His Church – the adulterers, the big time cheaters, the ex-criminals, ex-drug offenders, the HIV positives, the self avowed homosexuals and many more. Our immediate reaction is “Yuck!” But God says, “Yes. They are made in My image. I do love them. I have given My Son to die for them. Don’t turn them away!”
Have we let our disgust prevent us from reaching out to people who don’t dress like us, talk like us, think like us and behave like us.
If God so loved the world, which is full of the hard-to-like kind, then we who are called to go to the world ought to love what God loves.
We mustn’t label “unlovable” what God love.
We mustn’t deem “disgusting” what God deem deserving.
We mustn’t call “unclean” what God made “clean.”
The point is simply, “If God says it’s okay, it’s okay” (Acts 10:15 The Message).