My Turn, Anne Palmer: Saul met Jesus
Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 8, 2023
By Anne Palmer
You might say he was a member of a gang. In fact, he was fast becoming a leader because he took so much to heart protecting his territory and his fellow gang members. Nobody — and I mean nobody — had better try to muscle in on his turf.
If threats didn’t work, then violence was the option of choice. Oh, he was good at it, too! He could single handedly take out members of that new gang that had moved into town! Why, he even determinedly went to other areas near his territory, to show those new guys that they had better get out of Dodge.
Well, it so happened one day, as he was traveling to a nearby town, that he was knocked off his feet by the leader of the new gang! Literally knocked down! Wow! This new guy didn’t mess around! It seems that he knew all about our guy’s plans, and he had a message for him:
Don’t you see that you are going about this the wrong way? This isn’t your turf to defend. It actually is my turf! But I have a great plan for you and your gang members – and everyone else, too, in fact. Just listen.
Here’s the plan: Take that crushing zeal you have, and turn it around to tell others about what I’m going to show you, one on one, just you and me….
Of course, many of you recognize the gang leader as Saul of Tarsus, whose whole life turned upside down when he encountered the living Savior, Jesus Christ.
Did Jesus tell Saul that his “gang” was more powerful than Saul’s, and resistance was futile? Did Jesus say they should form committees and hold meetings to discuss the problem? Did Jesus suggest that Saul work to pass more laws restricting violence? Did Jesus say that Saul was evil? (Or just that his actions were evil?)
No, it all comes down to the same message Jesus Christ brings us today: God has a better plan for you. Trust me. Follow me. My Father will give you a new heart, which doesn’t feel the need to strike out at others – for whatever reason.
What is the point of my little story? Simply this: Education is not the answer (although it could be part of it). Science is not the answer. Gun laws are not the answer. And even sermons from the pulpit are not the answer (although, again, they can be part of it).
Changed hearts are the answer. And Jesus is in the business of doing just that!
He has a plan for your life. For my life. For the life of everyone who seeks Him. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) What better time to seek Him than today!
Anne Palmer lives in Salisbury.