The Trouble

The Trouble

15 February 2021

Jim Stephens

Reading: Leviticus 25; Psalms 25-26; Acts 22

The next day the commander ordered the leading priests into session with the Jewish high council. He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them. (Acts 22:30 NLT)

This wasn’t the first time a Roman official had been curious and confused over the intense hatred the religious Jews had for Paul. Once again the Jews listened to his “Jesus Story” until he got to the part about Jesus sending him to the Gentiles, and then they went ballistic!

You know, it’s also confusing to “normal” people to try and understand why there are so many Christian denominations and why Christians quarrel and fight with each other over what seem to be minor points of religious doctrine. We understand it of course, because we each think our particular set of beliefs and practices are right and everyone else’s are wrong (If they differ from ours!). I guess that’s “The Trouble” with believing that you have the only complete grasp on the truth – anyone who doesn’t agree precisely with you on every point has to be wrong! And if they’re wrong, they’re out! (We’ve got to get over this, friends!)

I don’t know how the Father will answer Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21…“My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me,” but I believe he will. And that will require some changes on our part!

I believe that my part in the process is to look for the common ground of agreement with others rather than focusing on the often minor points of difference. A good approach might be that in the essentials we should have unity, in the non-essentials we can have liberty with harmony, but in all things we have respect and love for each other. What do you think? What is “the trouble” all about? Can we get past it and begin to have real unity?


Father, Please give me courage to stand for my convictions and wisdom to know which convictions to stand for. And please give me love for those whose convictions intersect mine at an odd angle. Oh, and one more thing! Don’t let me ever forget that my life of faith is a Journey of Discovery, and that I haven’t yet seen all you have to show me and I haven’t got all the answers! Amen.

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