Summary: Paul teaches us how to demonstrate tact, diplomacy and truthful speech in the face of stiff criticism
How Paul Demonstrated Wisdom Before His Accusers
Illustration:Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
1. Have you ever wondered how to demonstrate wisdom while facing stiff accusations?
Paul began his defense before his accusers by saying, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” (Acts 23:1)
When we are able to live and relate to others with a clear conscience it gives us greater credibility.
Paul credited His Sovereign Lord with the ability to guide him with the knowledge, wisdom and promptings from the Spirit through his conscience. The great apostle relied on his conscience to guide him with the moral judgment necessary to oppose the violation of Spirit’s ethical principles.
Paul was able to cope with his imperfections, oversights and lack of complete knowledge because he constantly relied on the Spirit to refresh and cleanse his conscience from all unrighteousness.
A life that is obedient to God is characterized by steadiness, composure, consistency, and strength. Avoid having to live with guilt, regret or intuitive vulnerability.
Ask the Lord to help you follow Paul’s example of living with a good conscience before God and men.
2. Paul loses his composure when he is struck in the mouth, but quickly admits his mistake.
Trust the Lord to help you maintain self-control in all situations. He says, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” (Acts 23:5)
Paul admits that his insult was done to righteousness not to himself. Be willing to acknowledge your shortcomings. Distinguish between errors of actions, attitude or perception.
Learn to not take abuse personally. Realize that some mistakes are done accidentally rather with malicious intent.
He wisely leaves judgment in the hands of God. Paul lived what he wrote, “Give place for the wrath of God. Vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay.” (Rom. 12:19)
When Paul was found to have violated a law, he quickly admits his fault.
Ask the Lord to help you be willing to admit your mistakes so you do not create unnecessary stumbling blocks for the love and truth of Jesus.
3. Paul shows wisdom in switching the focus from himself to a debate between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
When you are in a prickly situation it is wise to shift the focus away from yourself and on to a debatable issue. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection from the dead like the Pharisees.
Paul used this controversy to defer attention away from himself and on to the squabbling priests.
Ask the Lord to give you just the right wisdom when you need it.