04-29-07

How fickle we humans are and the judgments we make about people.  It seems that we are constantly trying to size up the situations around us and be the first ones to give a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down” on people and the things they do.  Paul certainly saw his share of this during his lifetime.  In Lystra, Paul was welcomed as a “god”, but evicted as a trouble maker (Acts 14).  When Paul and his shipwrecked companions landed on the island of Malta (Acts 28), it was the other way around.  As the people watched Paul adding sticks to the campfire, a snake bit him.  The people watching decided that Paul must have been an awful criminal deserving of the punishment of the gods.  Yet when Paul didn’t fall over dead, they decided he was a god instead.  And when Paul went on to heal the leading citizen’s father, and in fact lots of people got healed, well they decided Paul was indeed a good guy after all.

Did Paul change between the time that he was shipwrecked to the time he performed miracles?  Of course not.  He was the same Paul he had been all along.  It was the people’s opinions of Paul that changed.  And they changed because they were wrong in their initial judgment of Paul.

Beloved, we too need to be careful in how we “judge” people.  A person going through a difficulty, whether it’s a snake bite or a financial bite, may not be going through that difficulty because they’re bad.  It may be that God wants to do a work in their lives.  And for those who feel you’ve been harshly misjudged by others, take courage.  God knows your heart.  And He’s the only one whose opinion really counts.