Friday, June 17, 2011
Paul and the Difficulty of Accepting Change
It was difficult for Paul, then known as Saul, to integrate with the disciples in Jerusalem as he had long been among their staunchest detractors (Acts 9:1-2). In fact, when Paul was last seen in the holy city, he was involved in the death of one of their own (Acts 7:58-8:3). The disciples were naturally suspicious of Paul’s newfound mission.
What would you do if your biggest competitor instantaneously sought to become an ally? Have you ever known anyone who made a sudden, dramatic lifestyle change?
Paul’s 180° shift was the result a famous encounter on the Damascus Road. Unfortunately, this experience was unverifiable. It was not until his friend Barnabas vouched for him that Paul gained acceptance among the disciples (Acts 9:26). The disciples then had the unenviable task of performing their own 180° turn in regards to their attitude towards Paul. Is it harder for a person to change or for their associates to accept the change in them?
Do you think the disciples’ fear of Paul is also evidence of a reluctance to believe that God can change a person irrevocably in an instant? Do you believe God can still change people in such profound ways?