As the apostle Paul was being led into the barracks by the Roman soldiers to escape an angry mob asking for his arrest, he likely took his captors by surprise when he wanted to address the crowd. In Acts 21:39, (in reply to the soldiers) Paul answered, “I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.”
Paul, despite having been beaten, shackled in chains, and having been chased by an angry mob to the point that he had to be carried away by the soldiers so that the crowd would not kill him, he still wanted to speak. He wanted to tell of truth before them, so that all who could hear might have the opportunity to believe. Because Paul had been forgiven much, (he had been just as those in the crowd before his encounter with Christ), he wanted to extend the same grace that had been granted to him, to the angry people in need.
He was a man living an example of how to bless those who persecute you. He knew God’s grace, and was willing to extend it to all, regardless of how he had been treated. In fact, he regarded his own life as nothing and was willing to lay it down for his faith. He had tremendous trust which translated to phenomenal faith in the Father, to boldly speak and act as he was called to do, despite the fire in front of him.
My faith is not that remarkable. It is a good day if I pray for those who persecute me, rather than think unkind thoughts back toward them. God is so kind and full of grace toward me. My heart’s desire is that I might extend that very same kindness and grace toward ALL – not just to those who are kind to me, but even to individuals that attack my character or say things that cause great sorrow to my soul. He does not limit His grace to me, nor should I to another. Grudges must go if we are to grow. May this day be abundant in grace that is both extended to us, and by us. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present