Simply Tell Them Your Story

onceuponatime“Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense that I now make before you.”
Acts 22:1 (NRSV)

For a couple of chapters the tension has been building. Paul is determined to return to Jerusalem. It has been prophesied that he will be arrested by the Jewish religious leaders as a traitor if he does. Everyone begs him not to go. Paul refuses to be deterred and now, the prophesy has been fulfilled. He finds himself in the middle of a riot. His people are screaming for his blood.

When the Roman guard arrives to break up the riot and discover who the controversy is all about, they nab Paul and take him into custody. But, Paul isn’t ready to be rescued quite yet. He wants to address the crowd and asks the Roman guards for permission. With the Romans present, the mob is a bit less zealous. Paul has a chance to speak.

He tells them his story.

He could have argued law. He could have shown from scripture the prophecies that pointed to Jesus. He could have defended his actions and refuted the accusations made against him. There were a million directions Paul could have gone with his opportunity to speak, but he simply tells them his story.

Our stories are personal. They are intimate and almost always compelling. Some, like Paul’s, are even quite dramatic. Others don’t tend to argue and refute a personal story unless it is full of lies and hyperbole.

This morning I’m reminded that, when given the opportunity, it’s always a good idea to simply tell your story.

One thought on “Simply Tell Them Your Story”

  1. 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.

    One thing I have learned as I get older is that we are all products and maybe even victims of our own upbringing. That doesn’t mean we all had bad childhoods, but I think every child grows into an adult who finds issue with how they were reared. I’m no different. I’ve also learned that Jesus gets ahold of all of us in His own special way and in His own timing. He convicts, makes us wrestle with our past and challenges us for the future. Paul in many ways was a product of his childhood too, until Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. God help us to release the cords from our childhood that hold us back so that we can live more fully into the present and future. Amen.

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