In Acts 22, we read of the encounter Paul has with Jesus. What an awesome moment that changed so much not only in Paul’s life, but to spark a great work of ministry that continues even today. When Paul, also known as Saul, encounters Jesus, he asks two questions. The first is who are you. His eyes are blinded. He hears someone. He asks, “Who are you?” to know who is speaking. Once he knows it is Jesus Christ, once he has this encounter with Jesus, he asks, “What shall I do?” now.
I pray you have encountered Jesus in your life, that you have had the eye opening moment just like Saul did that day Jesus met him where he was at in life, and forever changed everything. This encounter reminds me of Isaiah’s call, when he is before the Lord with unclean lips. His lips are made clean and then the Lord asks who will go, and he answers, “Here I am.” Isaiah encounters the Lord and he then is ready for action—action for the Lord.
Today, as you travel through wherever you must go, remember that you are able to encounter Jesus. He wants to reveal Himself to you in new ways. God wants a deeper relationship with you. Continue to ask the question, “Who are you?” as you go about your day. Keep your ears listening, your eyes open. As He shows Himself to you in His Word, in His Creation, in His people—then the response should be “what shall I do”? since I’ve received this revelation. Revelation always should be followed by a response.
“And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’” – Acts 28:8-10 [ESV]
Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. They went against what the Lord commanded. They were deceived by the serpent and sin entered the world. Things were no longer the same. The serpent, who was “more crafty than any other,” got the couple to question, “Did God really say?” Suddenly they realized their nakedness and hid from the Lord.
With sin comes punishment. The Lord punished man, woman and the serpent. As we continue reading though, the Bible says that God made clothing for Adam and Eve. Despite what they had done, despite how they had disobeyed, God had mercy for them.
God is rich mercy. Paul wrote to the church of Ephesus: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (2:4-7 ESV). He made garments of mercy for Adam and Eve long ago, and He continued to pour out His mercy by wrapping us in garments of mercy through Christ Jesus.
“And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” – Genesis 3:21 [ESV]
I have seen people get so angry. They are ready to explode. You can see the look in their face. They are mad. They are ready to fume from their ears. Then something changes. They are face to face with someone who doesn’t yell back. The person doesn’t respond harshly. Instead there is a gentle answer. The person who is angry starts to consider this gentle answer. Wow, I don’t have to be so mad. This person is calm. This person isn’t out to get me. This person is being reasonable. This person is caring. This person is listening to me.
When someone is angry, words can be said. When the listener starts to respond with more harsh words it becomes a war. The two people end up tossing words back and forth. Who can hit the hardest blow? Who can hurt the person worse? Who can one up the person with the worst? It becomes very childish. It becomes very loud. Voices get even louder, as if the loudest voice would win. As if the loudest voice is delivering the truth.
God’s Word says we should provide a “gentle answer.” It says a lot about us to provide a “gentle answer” when we are being pelted with hurtful, harsh words. I have tried both the gentle answer and the harsh words. The gentle answers always have worked out best. I’ve given up on the harsh words.
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” – Proverbs 15:1 [NLT]