As I was reading Acts 9:5, I was caught by the excerpt:
“Who are you Lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!”
Isn’t is crazy how Jesus loves us and relates to us so much that when Christians are persecuted, He takes it personally as if He were being persecuted too? This brings up the question: are you persecuting Jesus?
As I’ve said in a previous blog, it’s so easy to gossip about others and put people down with unkind acts and discouraging words. But almost everyone can agree that if Jesus were a member of our local church, we would never dare to speak against Him. Instead, we would treat Him with the utmost respect, going out of our ways to serve Him in any manner possible. After all, He is the son of the Almighty God and Creator of the Universe.
By this logic, we should be treating our peers with utmost respect and kindness too. When we grasp that our actions–whether they are good or bad– directly affect our relationship with God, it becomes harder to be mean and it becomes easier to be kind. Is there anyone in your life that you are persecuting verbally or physically? If so, you are not just persecuting them, but you are also persecuting Jesus. If you genuinely love Jesus, it is impossible to hate a brother or sister in Christ ².
You might be thinking that you’re totally hopeless, because you’ve been mean to too many people in the past. But fear not! Saul was one of the cruelest persecutors of his time and in verse 13, Ananias clearly exclaims his doubt about Saul’s conversion when he says, “But Lord…I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name”. Yet, we all know that 2000 years later, Saul who later became Paul, is one of the most influential and admirable man of God in the Bible. We all “fall short of the glory of God” ¹ at one point in our lives, but what’s important is what we do to fix our shortcomings. No extent of sin or persecution can disable us from being a great Christian!
Sometimes, however, it may take some time and adjusting to get where you want to be. For example, in verse 26 it says, “When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer!” If you have a bad reputation because of your past actions, it may take time for you to regain the trust and honor that you now deserve. Don’t let others’ disbelief in your transformation discourage you, but allow it to shape your life into a walking testimony!
1: Romans 3:23
2: 1 John 4:20