Thursday, October 24
3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
When you see someone struggling or suddenly hit with a tragedy, what goes through your mind? Do you have compassion for them or does your mind begin trying to figure out what sin they committed that would open the door to such a catastrophe? Unfortunately, in the courts of the religious minded, the person dealing with the tragedy is is already guilty of some awful sin. Why else would something so bad have happen to them? Transversely, the same people who are quick to condemn are also quick to place someone on an undeserved pedestal when something good happens to them. Paul experienced both sides of this judgmental coin. When he was bitten, He was a murderer. But after he survived, suddenly he’s a god. As a Christian, you are commanded to extend love, grace, and mercy to all who may be going through difficulties.
It’s not your job to judge or condemn, it’s your job to show them Jesus and give them hope. Allow His wisdom to guide you as you reach out and He will show you how you can best serve their needs. After all, the very person you condemn could one day be in a position to help you. In Paul’s case, the same people who convicted him as a murderer were brought to the Lord through his ministry a few days later. No one is exempt from the trials of life, everyone however, is looked upon with compassion by the Father. You can choose to be a vessel of the compassion or you can judge them and look the other way. When you make that choice, do so in the knowledge that you could be in a place of need yourself one day. – Love and Blessings, Pastor Jeff