17 Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” 21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”
Paul is clearly facing a situation that is the result of jealousy and hatred. He has been set up but his words are not of resentment, rather he is choosing to see his position as one of opportunity. Even the smallest child seems to know if ‘that’s not fair!!’ But we are called to live differently. A wise man once said ‘the devil of resentment is that it is justified!’ Paul had been badly treated by his own people but he chooses in vs 20 to focus on what lies ahead, not his unfair past.
It makes me wonder if I have missed God’s opportunity at any time because I was focussed instead on myself and the ‘unfair’ circumstances of my life. I want my testimony to be about the goodness and greatness of God, not the sad or unfair things that have happened along the way. The cause of my resentment may be justified, but I need to let that go to be used by God.
Heavenly Father thank you that you are the God of my life. Help me Lord to focus on your goodness. Help me to see all that you place before me. Give me the strength Lord to leave with you the things in my life that fester because they are not ‘fair’. Use me Lord for your Glory. In Jesus name. Amen
Written by Christine Knight