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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Acts 13

One of the most challenging tendencies I face in life is the tendency to respond to someone’s unkindness with unkindness of my own. It’s easy for me to go down that path as I find myself thinking, “Well, the other person started it through their hurtful behavior – and if I look the other way, I’ll be perceived as a doormat. That’s why it’s okay for me to respond similarly.” It is so common for us human beings to go there!

It’s interesting to note that you and I aren’t the only ones faced with such temptation. In today’s reading we encounter an unusual story about Paul – another person who “went there”. Let me tell you what’s so unusual about today’s story.

You see in each of the miracle stories that precede today’s passage in the New Testament as we know it, the miracle that is performed by Jesus (or one of his followers) was a miracle of healing. Sight was restored to the blind. Health was restored to lepers. Life was restored to the dead.

In today’s passage from Acts, however, the miracle that occurs is in the opposite direction. Paul renders the charlatan – Bar-Jesus – blind because of his treachery! In other words, it feels as if Paul stooped to his opponent’s level. That’s why I find that story so unusual and so troubling.

Today I would invite you to examine your own life and see if there is a relationship (or if there are relationships) where you are currently tempted to stoop to another’s level and meet their unkindness with unkindness of your own. If so, take some time and invite God’s healing presence into the situation so you won’t be tempted to follow Paul’s example and feel compelled to lash out and hurt someone.

Til next time…

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