Have you ever wondered what it was like for the Christians in Jerusalem when they first learned that the evil Saul had supposedly converted to their faith? Not only that, but he was now coming to town!? I wonder if any of the hidden conversations prior to his arrival went something like this…
“But he killed my brother,” comes a voice from the back corner.
Another is seen shifting position amidst the shadowy circle of robed forms, before speaking, “He imprisoned my mother,”
“He beat my son,” whispers one from the front.
“But he has become a Christian,” the leader states in a solid tone that doesn’t ask for, but rather commands, respect. The dark room that rests beneath the streets falls silent. Only the light from the moon shines through the grid from the streets above.
This wasn’t how it’s supposed to go. This hated man who has stormed the country in hot pursuit of believers in The Way has had only one goal: Destroy any and all who have chosen this new religion. Why on earth would anyone now believe this horrid individual has truly experienced a change of heart? Or, truly become one of them? If the secrets in their hearts could be seen, some would rather see him dead, than “saved.”
“He is now one of us,” come the dreaded words one final time that shake them from their thoughts. The men slowly file out the door, knowing they will return again. Tomorrow. After they have had time to sleep on this shocking, perplexing news. A decision will be made. But not tonight.
As they toss and turn in their beds, these men, the respected leaders of the new faith, The Way, wrestle with yet another new dilemma. These are the men the people look to for direction and strength. The ones that will set the precedents for centuries of followers to come. The role models for the future generations of believers. What to do? What to do…
Obviously, the above is a fictionalized version (from my over-active imagination) of what might have transpired when the new leaders of the church in Jerusalem, the apostles themselves, were first informed that the hated killer of Christians, had become a believer. A follower of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s conversion is a wonderful study to be sure. (Acts chapter 9). But my thoughts for you today are these:
- Is there someone in your life that has told you they have changed? Is it impossible for you to believe?
- Do you have a big decision to make that involves someone you don’t trust?
- Are you asked to go above and beyond in a situation that is out of your control and feels totally unfair?
You may very well have a difficult situation on your hands. Perhaps it’s a comfort to know, others have gone before you and felt or experienced the same. Men of great, and lesser, stature have been faced with weighty moments that hold a myriad of complications. Choices with consequences. Times that are not for the faint of heart.
May I suggest this: when the big shocks come that demand the “right” reaction from you, accept that you and I may not always make the best call, like the disciples inevitably did. However, let’s strive to not be controlled by emotions or fear, or led or swayed by our peers. May we, in the end, try to make the best decision, for not only now, but for the future. Then, may we move forward knowing that we gave it our all. We did our best and acted in the only healthy way we knew how for that moment. And the rest? We must leave in God’s hands.
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