REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on May 14, 2016, is provided by Pastor David Kwon who leads Journey Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. David, a graduate of Drexel University and Columbia International University (M.Div.), was recently ordained. Congratulations.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Being Falsely Accused”
Paul argued in his defense, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.” 9 But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?” 10 But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. 11 If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.” 12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.”
Have you ever been falsely accused of something? How did it make you feel about the situation, but more importantly, how did it make you feel about the accuser? I have a childhood memory in elementary school where one of my classmates falsely accused me of stealing their lunch money. Ironically, after he accused me, he found the money in his pocket—he forgot that he put it there. I remember even at a young age, how upset and betrayed I felt.
Paul, in this passage, is being falsely accused of being a wrongdoer. They had accused him of stirring up trouble all over the Roman Empire, but they did not have any witnesses. They had accused him of sacrilege, but they could not prove it. They had accused him of speaking against Caesar, and they could not prove that either. Even though he could have faced death for these charges he did not commit, he was bold enough to say that death is something he did not wish to escape (v.11). If you were in Paul’s position, how would you have felt towards your accusers?
One of the most challenging teachings of Jesus is to love our enemies – even those who have wronged us. He says in Matthew 5:43-47:
43 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Is there someone you need to pray for who has wronged you? Is God asking you to forgive someone who might have falsely accused you through criticism or slander? Ask God for the strength and courage to pray for supernatural love for those people in your life.
Prayer: Lord, we want to pray for those who have hurt us or wronged us in the past. We ask for your love and strength to forgive them. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Leviticus 9-10