When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."
Thoughts for Today:Previously Paul had cast a spirit from a slave girl. Now we see the owners of the slave girl are furious because their revenue stream had ended and wanted to punish Paul and Silas.
I think it's interesting how the claims made against Paul and Silas had nothing to do with the slave girl, yet had the potential to incite the magistrates to take action. I see this a lot when problems are brought to my attention as well, whether it is with children at home, family members, the work place, or at church.
Most of the time when a disagreement is presented, it is presented in a way that encourages the hearer to take action rather than a fair representation of the actual circumstances around what happened. That is why it is always so important to look at motivation before rushing to a decision.
Here are the reasons given to the magistrates by the slave girl's owners which are presented in a way to motivate them to take action:
1. These men are Jews -- one or all of the magistrates may have had a racial bias against the Jewish people.
2. Throwing the city into uproar -- the magistrate's chief responsibility was to maintain order in the community.
3. Advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice -- their power was awarded by the Roman government and their position would be in jeopardy if they did not uphold Roman law.
As you can see, although the issue is about money, money is not mentioned. Rather the focus is now on three other things, all of which are designed to incite the authorities into action against Paul and Silas.
Questions to Ponder:Most of us have been in circumstances when we've sided with someone or a group of people only to find out later the issue wasn't as clear cut as we originally thought. So much so that if we had taken the time to hear the other side of the disagreement we may very well have changed our mind about who was right or at fault. Isn't that what we expect of our judicial system? Yet why don't we do the same thing in our own personal relationships? Have you been too quick to act, place blame, or judge? Could you be a bit more balanced and deliberate? Our judicial system uses the term "deliberate," which means to equally consider something carefully and in detail. Does that sound like you? What can you do today to be more balanced and deliberate -- at home, at work, or at church?