„Saul Saul, why thou persecute me? Who art thou Lord? I am Jesus whom thou persecutes. It is hard to thee to kick against the pricks.“ (Acts 9:4-5 -KJV)
These were the words Saul (later Apostle Paul) heard while he was on his way to Damascus. Saul, the most Jewish out of the Jews, was permitted by the King to kill every person that preaches in the name of Jesus. Saul didn’t kill because he wanted to be a hitman; as a Jew he desired to do so because the doctrine preached by the disciples was seen as misconduct. It was not common to preach about a man who went on the cross, died, and rose from the dead to be the savior and equal to God (to some it still isn’t). The Jewish community doesn’t play with the name God, which is a reason for Jesus’s death sentence. Religious people, in general, have a hard time understanding that – Jesus came not only for us to be saved, but also to get us to understand the God-concept of RELATIONSHIP! The Pharisees, Sadducees, Lawyers and Gentiles didn’t know God. Even though many of them were educated and known in scriptures – it still wasn’t enough for God.
God cares more about your lifestyle than your educational background about His Word.
Why do I say this? Because it doesn’t mean anything to Him unless you live it! Let’s get back to Saul… On his way to Damascus, Saul got blinded by a light, out of the light Jesus spoke to him (look at the introduction). Due to this encounter, Saul has to be led to Damascus, where he didn’t eat in prayer for three days. It wasn’t until a disciple (named Ananias) sent by God met him and instructed him of what it was that God wanted him to do – before he received his eye-sight back (read the story in Acts 9:11-19). When I read this I saw similarities within myself… As one who wants to teach and help make the world better – change has to start with oneself. Unfortunately there’s no way around it lol..
Saul persecuted the disciples because he was hurting emotionally. Preaching the name of Jesus, in his eyes, wasn’t acceptable and went against his values. His values were his pride and joy, so for the disciples to come and create a national „disaster“ – was just unacceptable. His pride was hurt, so as a result of it, he was determined to make them pay for it…
Do you see yourself in Saul’s behavior? – I did see myself!
We all get into confrontations and uncivilized confrontation adds nothing but emotional pain. Pain, mostly, causes us to take improper actions. We are hurt, so we get resentful and even though we do not talk about it openly – we subliminal or (at times intentional) persecute the one/s that has hurt us. We start to look for ways on how to cause them the same pain we had. It’s human to do so, but this doesn’t make it right. Scripture tells us that „Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer“ (1. John 3:15 – NIV)… („But Alfred, I’m not a murderer!“) That’s known to me and I never said it – scripture did.
Sounds tough I know, did for me too…
Let me be transparent for a minute… Within the past years I’ve had former friends, random people and who not appear in my dreams. I take my dreams very serious and I’m humble enough to say that I get to interpret most of them. However, it all did not make sense to me. It was annoying, disturbing and just tiring. I know, despite what happened, I’ve forgiven everybody and wish them well. Nevertheless, my question was still hovering in the air, why wasn’t I free? If I believe in Jesus and He has set me free…wasn’t I supposed to be freed indeed? I’m sure I’m not the only person to have ever asked myself this! And if you’re still struggling with this question, I’m glad you’ve bumped unto my blog today. I got the answer… Here’s the clue…
You cannot cure emotional pain with spirituality!
As a matter of fact, we could be deeply wrapped around our spiritual senses, but be completely blinded towards our emotional health.
Let that sink in for a minute and continue to read…
You have to get this… We as a people, especially church folks, cover our emotional instability under the rug, by believing in prayer that God will take care of it. Well… He did; but at times it requires a bit more than just praying. Saul prayed for three days, but his physical health as well as emotional health did not occur, until the act of forgiveness happened. A lot of us don’t speak about our emotional pain because it could be taken for granted or laughed at. Due to this, we have so many broken relationships and frustrated people seeking for God – receiving NOTHING! It’s unfortunate that this way of thinking has spoiled an entire generation. Don’t get me wrong I believe in prayer and know that prayer is powerful, but to receive complete healing we have to act. The act of speaking openly about your pain, struggles etc. will allow you to heal during the process. Transparency is the key 😉 !
God heard Saul’s cry, but it took for Ananias to obey Gods instruction so that Saul could receive forgiveness. It’s not that we don’t have enough faith or believe in God, the problem is that we fail to act on the things God tells us. We don’t want to be seen as vulnerable because it could be seen as weak. We don’t like to get uncomfortable because it doesn’t feel right (familiar). And most of all we hate it to be in an place of uncertainty…
Saul didnt‘ know if he would ever receive his eye-sight back. Ananias didn’t think it was good to get close to him. Nevertheless, God made sure that Saul would receive what he asked for. Imagine Ananias would have disobeyed God – do you believe Saul would have received emotional health? Understand that my reason for pointing out emotional health instead of spiritual or physical is because they’re all tied in together. You cannot be perfectly fine in spirit, but completely dysfunctional within your emotions. It’s a three-way-relationship: Your spirit, your emotions & your physical being.
It takes God to reveal himself to us in Spirit, but it takes action from us to receive emotional health. Emotional stability is just as important as the other two; if you are not stable within your emotions everything else cannot be stable. Imagine having an emotional unstable partner – how draining would it be to deal with that person? The person could be the smartest and sexiest ever, however, the emotional roller coaster you had to face would be terrible.. Now picture how draining it is for God to deal with your emotional instability…
Saul emotions were hurt, which is why he persecuted the disciples. He received his eye-sight back once he prayed and surely spoke to Ananias about it openly. I believe the conversation the two had once Saul was healed – was a conversation of restoration. What you need is found in the acting on what God has told you… Don’t feel ashamed to speak openly about your pain, vulnerability can turn into accessibility, which will lead to an even greater possibility of _________(you fill in the blank).
Thank you for reading 🙂 until then, be blessed.
© Alfred Ntiamoah and authenticitee, 2015
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