READ: Acts 16:22-30
Wow. Did you read what I just read? Paul and Silas are brutally beaten for sharing the gospel and thrown into jail where a jailor is placed in charge of keeping them secure. The jailor probably takes a few swings himself, and then throws them into the deepest, darkest corner of the prison and shackles their feet in the stocks. Then, the unthinkable happens – while the jailor is sleeping, an earthquake shakes the prison so violently that all the doors break open and the shackles on their feet crack in two. The jailor is awoken and in an instant, he realizes that all of his prison doors are open and assumes that all the prisoners have fled the scene. Now, let’s be honest. If you were Paul in this situation, and your chains had been broken and your cell door swung open – would you wait around to see what happened to your captor? You’d be hard pressed to find a time where I was running any faster if I were in this situation. However, Paul waits and sees his captor about to take his own life in fear of the retribution he’d face for losing all of his captives. Paul steps in and saves his life, shortly after which God saves his soul. You see, Matthew tells us that it’s easy to love your brethren and hate your enemy, but Jesus’ way is much different from the easy way. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew Henry says of this passage “These gifts of common providence are dispensed indifferently to good and evil, just and unjust; so that we cannot know love and hatred by what is before us, but by what is within us; not by the shining of the sun on our heads, but by the rising of the Son of Righteousness in our hearts.”
God may have a purpose for you today that you know nothing about, and it may be with someone you don’t even like. Will you allow the Son of Righteousness to rise up in your heart? How could God use you today?
PRAY: God, we need Your help to treat our enemies the way You treat them. Would we not overlook the opportunities You’ve placed in our lives to show love and compassion to those we don’t agree with. Would You allow us to be used in mighty and profound ways – like Paul – to save the lives of those around us.