The same thing happened in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.
Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. And there they preached the Good News.
Acts of the Apostles 14:1-7 NLT
It is hard to comprehend that people would not receive the message of God’s grace and love poured out through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Especially after God used Paul and Barnabas to perform “miraculous signs and wonders.”
This lets me know that some people will reject truth regardless of how powerful the evidence. Getting beyond our past is hard. The way we grew up thinking and believing is hard to change even when confronted by the obvious truth.
Our society today is so divided, and instead of having a civil conversation about our different views, we seem to want to attack each other. I grew up with the idea that fighting never solved anything.
Right now, in the Middle East, Israel and Palestine are fighting each other. One shoots a missile, and the other responds with an attack. Then more missiles and more attacks. Innocent people die because nations choose to fight instead of talk.
As I write this, I am thinking about the news report last night of the number of domestic deaths caused by family members in the past few months. Experts are saying much of this is the result of Covid stress on families resulting in violent attacks that often include the suicide of the attacker.
Anger is a powerful tool of destruction. Let’s disagree without anger and violence. Let’s open our hearts and learn to love one another, even those who are different.
Holy Spirit, help me to be an agent for change in my world. Help me to reject anger and violence. Help me to stand for unity.
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