But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (Eph. 2:13)

MANY YEARS AGO Max Lucado wrote an article in which he said his wife bought a monkey. Max didn’t want a monkey, so he objected.

“Where is he going to eat?” he asked his wife.

“At our table.”

“Where is he going to sleep?”

“In our bed.”

“What about the odor?” he demanded.

“I got used to you; I guess the monkey can too.”

I’m with Max. I wouldn’t want a monkey in my house either. Yet that hasn’t stopped me from making a monkey of myself when I treated someone like a second-class citizen. I wish I had not grown up with prejudices, biases, ideas that some people are just a little better than others. But I did.

God, who is determined to mold each of us and make us into more desirable persons, has placed me in uncomfortable situations at times when I came face-to-face with others who were smarter, faster, better than I was.

I think it was also a process for the apostle Paul to come to the place where he realized that our backgrounds don’t matter to God. Through Jesus Christ and His blood, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. He takes us from different backgrounds and brings us near to Him and each other.

Receive others as first-class citizens in God’s kingdom; we are one in Him.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife, Carol. They have been married for fifty-one years and have two sons and nine grandchildren.