James, Peter, and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the Jews.
In Gal. 2:6, Paul asserts something that scripture testifies to many times, “God does not judge by external appearance.” Even Jesus himself urges us to, “Stop judging by mere appearances and make right judgments.” This is so hard for us to do, because all we know is what we see. Unlike God, none of us have the ability to look into the soul of another man and none of our judgments are keen enough to divide between soul and spirit.
Since we only know what we see, it is so important for us to learn to recognize the grace of God in others. Sometimes that might be the only mark of similarity we get. Paul’s background, past and ministry focus looked very different from that of the other apostles. This could have made it difficult for them to recognize him as a brother. It’s easy to accept what is similar to us, but it’s harder to accept someone, or something, that is different. Nevertheless, Paul was commissioned to serve by the same God who had sent them. It was the presence of that grace in Paul’s life that for them was the mark of brotherhood. God’s Kingdom is vast and is made up of many parts. We all have different backgrounds and different roles within it. You may not understand the way the Lord is leading someone’s life, or be certain of their past, but the real question is can you recognize the grace of God in their life? If so, don’t judge by mere appearances; make a right judgment and accept them. Remember, no matter how well your life has gone, or how well you think you’ve followed God’s plan, your life is not the standard. Be grateful for the grace the lord has shown to you and leave room for the lord to move in the lives of other people according to his plan for their lives. Give your brother or sister in Christ the right hand of your fellowship and trust that the God who has given them his grace and spirit will also show them their ministry in the Kingdom. We should never reject one whom God himself has accepted. Pray for the grace to recognize his spirit.