One of my favorite characters in the New Testament besides JESUS of course, is Saul, later called Paul. Here is a guy who was born a Jew, a Roman citizen so then a Gentile by citizenship. He killed and persecuted the followers of CHRIST.
It really brings to light that it does not matter where we were born, to whom we were born, what faith or race we were born into; we all have the gift of the keys to the Kingdom. It does not matter what we have done; we all have the choice to be forgiven. No sin is greater, no doing is worse than another and frankly no one is so bad that they cannot be used for the furtherance of the Kingdom.
It is hard for me to conceivably forgive in my heart those whom have committed, what I consider terrible acts against others. For instance, I am an animal lover and the mere hearing of a story about any type of animal torture has me wanting dreadful things to happen to the offender. I feel the same about offenses against children.
I imagine if I were alive during Saul’s tyranny, I probably would have a pretty unforgiving heart towards him. Yet, JESUS did not only forgive him and wipe him clean but HE used him. Saul-turned-Paul saved millions. Each person he touched in his travels and his ministry literally affected more than any of us could ever imagine. All this by a former murderer who got pleasure out of torturing people.
It is interesting to me that Paul was rendered to his knees and blinded. JESUS asked him, “Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Paul was given specific instructions and kept blind for three days. Then he could see. However, he didn’t just see by the physical sense of the word, he really saw. And even among the disciples, he was doubted and disliked. Eventually, he became great.
There is so much in this character. He is each of us. Sure we may not all be murderers, but we are all offenders of some sort. Liars, gossipers, stealers, cheaters……… sinners! It is so easy to look out away from us and to those around us and persecute them in our minds or actions because of things we may perceive as unforgivable. However, that is not the way JESUS would have it, is it? Makes me think…….
LORD, Forgive me for my judgmental heart and mind. Take my issues, mean-spiritedness, judgment and hate and turn it around FATHER. I want to be transformed in mind, body and spirit to have more of you and less of the world. I want to, through you love those even when I find them to be unlovable. I thank YOU LORD for loving me that way! And I also thank YOU LORD that you sent wonderful angels in my life that help me to see that I am worth something in YOU and I am worth loving too. FATHER, if there is anyone who is struggling with things they are doing or have been doing that may be putting a wall between YOU and them, rain upon them YOUR love so that they like Saul will fall to their knees and repent and rebirth in YOU and have a new life! AMEN