Thurs Nov 15: Paul’s response

Read: Acts 17:1-10, 16:16-40

Focus: As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea (Ac 17:10)

Perhaps you’ve met them. Ruffled by every incident that they view as unjust, quickly offended by any stray word that they might have overheard, they insist on holding endless meetings to straighten out every issue. These people can create havoc in church life, because they seem delighted when there is a disagreement to resolve. And they don’t usually do too well in friendship and marriage, because they are apparently incapable of being magnanimous and just moving forward when they are irritated: everything needs explanation, clarification, and, quite often, heartfelt apology.

Paul and his team experienced multiple episodes of false accusation, corruption and injustice, and sometimes this cost him dearly, suffering beatings, imprisonment and thwarting his missional plans. There were times when he stood his ground and demanded apology and appeasement, because, as a Roman citizen, he had clear legal rights and he used that status to confront those who treated him badly - we see that following his incarceration in Philippi. But compare that with his response to the rioting mob (and the city officials) in Thessalonica - perhaps more concerned about the welfare of Jason and the other believers in the city, Paul quietly moved on and headed out of town, unwilling to pursue the matter further. Not everything needs sorting out. Know when to stand up for what is right - and when to shrug your shoulders and move on. If we fail to know the difference, we’ll end up fighting battles that need not be fought.

Prayer: Lord, help me to respond to the unfolding challenges that come in life; to know the best way for each different situation. Amen.

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