"I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them."
Thoughts for Today:Remember "the Fonz," Henry Winkler's character from the 80's television show "Happy Days"? Fonzie had a problem admitting he was wrong, because he was so convinced he was always right. The Fonz would first disappear, but when confronted about his errors he could never finish the sentence or pronounce the words to admit it. He would say, "I was wroooooo..... I'm sorrrrrrrrr...."
In our devotion today, Paul recounts how he too was convinced beyond doubt that he was right, and he went to extreme measures to prove it by punishing Christians at every opportunity. I don't think Paul was anything less than sincere in his previously held beliefs; the only problem was -- he was sincerely wrong. I wonder if sometime before his Damascus Road experience, that Paul began to doubt his rightness. But Paul didn't go silent like my wife, or disappear like the Fonz, instead I believe he intensified his attacks on Christians because he so desperately did not want to be wrong. The Bible records Saul/Paul's most aggressive behavior against Christians began with the stoning death of Stephen (Acts 8:1-3). Saul now had blood on his hands and he couldn't go back or afford to be wrong -- it would take a miracle and an act of grace to turn him from his path -- stay tuned.
Questions to Ponder:In most cases it takes an admission of error before healing can take place. Sometimes we can be so blinded by our own errors that we can't see the Lord's truth. Unfortunately, many of us have a tendency to compound our errors rather than admitting and seeking forgiveness. Understanding or analyzing the myriad of reasons why we may do that is less important than changing our behavior. You know right now an area of your life that you need to turn over to God's grace. What is it? Admit it. It can't be worse than what Saul/Paul was doing and God forgave Him and used him in miraculous ways. Isn't God good? Won't you trust Him?