Summary: I our final look at kindness, we focus on the issue of revenge and retaliation.
The Ananias Perspective
Got to be in conversation with Christ
Acts 9:10 There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Master spoke to him in a vision: "Ananias." "Yes, Master?" he answered.
11-12 "Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He’s there praying. He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again."
13-14 Ananias protested, "Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us."
Consider you are living in during the time of WW2, the early 1940’s. What do you do when God tells you that He has chosen a person to lead Christians across the world. This person is going to talk to a great number of Non-Christians in the world. In fact, he’ll be reaching thousands upon thousands of people. And he will talk to presidents, prime ministers, and the heads of governments across the globe. Oh, and by the way his name is Adolph Hitler. Well that’s exactly what Ananias had to deal with when God comes to him saying that Saul of Tarsus is the guy chosen for the job.
That’s right, Saul the man known for killing Christians as if they were flies. The man grown and educated since birth to be a Pharisee; the one respected by every other Jewish leader, and probably Roman leader, too, in the Roman empire. A man that walks around like James Bond with a government sanctioned license to kill on demand at his own prerogative.
We don’t know for sure but judging from his reply, Ananias may have known a number of the people Saul had killed; a number of the places Paul’s sting had hit. I’m sure Ananias thought something along the lines of “of all the people in the world God chose Saul, and He then decided to send ME to go help him.”
But pause for a moment and think:
- You are a Christian
- You now know that the most renowned Christian killer is in your midst
- You know many - a great number personally, even - that have been killed by this man.
- You have direct access to his location
- You are on your way to see him
- AND ... you could probably corral a number of guys together, go to where he was, and have him beaten, maimed, or even killed - and you’re sure that NOBODY would hate you for doing it. In fact you’d probably get more praise than imaginable for being the man that killed Saul, the Christian Killer. And if you were concerned what people would think you could even just make it a quiet event and hide the body so no one would ever know.
Revenge is on your mind, your heart and you struggle with whether or not this is a “genuine” call - surely God must be mistaken. I know it never happened, but there’s a first time for everything.
Will you give him life or give him death.
Will you curse this man or bless him.
God gave the command but it’s your choice to determine whether you will follow or not.
1. Consider blessing the enemy
Rom 12:14 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
We can either curse or bless - the choice is ours.
The summer after my freshman year, a friend and I took a road trip to the Grand Canyon. We had just seen the movie “Grand Canyon” with Danny Glover, and said that we just had to do it. It took us 4 days to get there and when we arrived I was so taken back that I cried and called home to tell everyone.
One of the most amazing things about being in a place like that is that when you yell into nearly any part of the canyon you have an echo effect unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. No matter what you say it is magnified, amplified, and sent out for miles, and as the sound travels the sound literally passes through every person, create, and object in its way.
In the most simplistic and binary of terms, in life we are either building up or tearing down, giving life or giving destruction, blessing or cursing! And what’s both exciting and scary about the echos of life.