“This” Word

They listened to him up to this word. Then they raised their voices, shouting, “Wipe this person off the earth—it’s a disgrace for him to live!” – Acts 22:22

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“They listened to him up to this word.” Up to a certain word, Paul was on a roll. As he addressed the non-receptive crowd in Jerusalem, he had done all the right things. He spoke in Hebrew (the heart language of the people). He referenced their history and intertwined it with his own (establishing his credentials). Paul even got away with telling his own story of conversion. Things seemed to be going well, until … until he spoke of taking his message … the message of Christ … to the heathen (THE GENTILES). They listened to him up to this word.

Where do you find yourself in this story? Are you Paul, the preacher, or are you a member of the crowd? Have you ever, like those who listened to the Apostle, shut down or rejected truth at the exact moment it began to convict? Have you ever erupted in anger at God’s messenger when that message brought to light your own intimate failure? Or, are you the speaker who though like Paul … adept at connecting with your audience … unlike Paul stopped short of proclaiming an uncomfortable truth because you feared the retribution of your listeners?

If we are honest, we all may at some time in our lives have been both, but neither is acceptable. Truth often offends, but it is true nonetheless. So, we need it … those without Christ need it. So, the question is, “What will keep us from spreading it?” when our moment comes, will we be willing to speak “this word?”

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. – Winston Churchill

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