Category: Romans

The Apostle Paul’s Advice

The Apostle Paul’s Advice

There’s a section in Part 1 of Phoebe’s Journey when Nicholas, one of the primary characters, meets with Paul. There meeting takes place after the Apostle has been brought before the Roman authorities following a complaint by the Jewish synagogue leaders. Paul tells the young man that he ran into his father that day and chuckles as he says, “He was there under more fortunate circumstances than me, I’ll admit.”

Nicholas asks, “You can laugh at being hauled before the Proconsul?”

And the Apostle Paul responds, “I take it seriously, Nicholas. But I understand the leaders of the synagogue are threatened by the message I’m bringing on behalf of the Messiah. They are the ones to be worried. I’ve been in their place. Their world is changing and their hearts are not open yet. With the Lord’s help, I am determined to be patient with them.”

A wise reader sent this comment to me about this exchange between Paul and Nicholas:

It fits very well [when considering] all the changes that have happened in the church during our lifetime. The message of Romans is acceptance and that requires us to have time for our hearts to be opened as well as the hearts of the ones promoting the change. It gives both of us time to evaluate the change to see if it violates scripture or if He challenges our comfort zone.

I have thought about this all day long. When it comes to change–which is rarely easy–how often have we witnessed change agents overstep their bounds in their zeal to bring that change about? And, on the other hand, how often do we witness those who are change-averse dig their heels in and put the brakes on, before they ever even hear the other side out?

This reader is so correct to remind us that practicing acceptance, and opening our hearts, will encourage us to find common ground.

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