...gonna kick the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight... musings of a hungarian in texas

©2003 by Annamaria Kovacs. All contents of this blog are the property of the author. Use with written permission only.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Words of the Week

Another one worth contemplating, this week from the Acts:

Acts 23: 6-11:
1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and
brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

2 And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to
smite him on the mouth.

3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall:
for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten
contrary to the law?

4 And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God"s high priest?

5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high
priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the
Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.

8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither
angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.

9 And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the
Pharisees" part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against

10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain,
fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.

11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of
good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

It often happens that all we can do is cry: why did this happen to me? My people, the Hungarians have this tendency to think that we are the unfortunate ones, who are always beaten down, and we just look on innocently as evil people trod upon us because we cannot do anything about it.
All human stories happen because there is more than one participant, and all participants of the story, inevitably, are sharing the responsibility for what happened. The apostle Paul here, used the ‘divide and conquer’ theory against his enemies himself. He did not wait like an innocent lamb for the slaughter, but devised his own plan to get out of the situation. Note though, that he did not lie while doing this. He did not seek to smear the others, just stated why he was there—for the hope of eternal life, for the resurrection of the Christ. He saw that this was the only way he could get out from a very tense situation where emotions run rather high.
Paul realized very clearly who he can and cannot count on. And he was able to accept that the people he could count on the least are his own blood. But, at the same time, he was able to say sorry to his enemies, when he realized he called the High Priest a whitewashed wall. He realized that whatever human weaknesses the man could have, his office needs to be honored.

Paul was able to place himself, very realistically, in his own world, in the current situation. He understood that there is no use for high idealistic arguments at this point—he needs to get free first.

We need to ask ourselves: In our own ‘divide and conquer’ situations do we have the mindset to turn someone’s anger to a positive, beneficial, good use? Can we find clever solutions to tension in our work or family life? Or we just shoot until we are out of ammo? Or we just keep it all to ourselves, turning bitter in the process, expecting everyone to feel sorry for us?

The apostle Paul had only one goal: the gospel. God stood by him in the night, and gave him strength: he told him his life had a purpose, you had to go Rome with the gospel.
If we have a goal in life that is worth fighting for, that is not about merely existing, we will have the strength to fight smart. If we see that God called us for greater things, then we will be able to get over even the hardest crises of our life with His mercy.


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