As I read Acts 22 I thought about how all of the disciples during this time period suffered persecution but, the types of persecution Paul suffered were second worst only to what Jesus suffered. The extreme persecution Paul would face was revealed to Ananias when he questioned Jesus about restoring Paul’s sight. There are many parallels between Jesus’s and Paul’s sufferings. They both knew before going to Jerusalem that there was a high probability they would die. They were courageous and willing to do God’s will despite the consequences. Both had the entire city of Jerusalem in an uproar. The Jews conspired to have them both killed. Both were handed over to the Gentiles. They both faced hostile crowds calling for their death.
It’s easy to identify when we’ve been persecuted, other people dislike us, their paranoid or jealous. How quickly do I identify my wrongful persecution towards others because of my dislike of them, I’m jealous or critical of them? For the most part, my persecution is done in secret within my heart, sometimes I catch my attitude after it’s already started down that road and I have to ask myself if I really understand what the other person is saying, what their intent actually is. Sometimes if things don’t look the way I think it should look or sound the way I think it should sound, I’m against it and I think other people are wrong. It’s ok if I don’t agree with others as long as I don’t criticize them. I often have a different opinion than good friends and that’s actually a good thing if everyone can discuss their differences and simply agree to disagree. How many times do different opinions tear relationships apart? I have found that good conversations with people I disagree with can change attitudes about differences. I’ve actually changed my mind about my opinions after good conversations with people who have a different view than me and sometimes, they have changed their views. I recognize that I’m not always right, ugh.
It’s easy in today’s world to get caught up reacting in worldly ways rather than responding in Godly ways. Today’s world has gone so over the top crazy. It’s acceptance of anything and everything that is against God’s ways and so completely condemning towards anyone who speaks God’s truth. It’s important as we profess truth that we do it out of a heart of love for others, not getting caught up in the hostility that today’s world thrives in.
Not everybody likes truth, they just want life to be whatever they want it to be no matter how right or wrong that is. They don’t understand the chaotic world we would live in if everyone lived with that kind of attitude, however, don’t we see our world and our country, turning more and more that way. The people on this road who speak out against God‘s truth are the ones that speak the loudest, and the world is conforming to their ways. If you speak God’s truth, you’re discriminatory, old fashioned, unloving, hateful, unaccepting of others and your persecuted for believing in God’s truth. It’s going to get worse.
I often hear Christians say that God loves them just the way they are, this is true, but God loves us too much to leave us that way. God will continue to show us His truth and enlighten us to the life He wants us to live, it’s important we are courageous and share that with others, especially those we love the most despite what’s popular. Often times, God’s truth isn’t popular, even in many churches. Be courageous for Christ despite the possible consequences.