Lord, when I pray “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us,” help me really mean it.
Read Acts 21:27-22:2
 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him,  shouting, “Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.”  (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.)  The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut.  While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar.  He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.  The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done.  Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks.  When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers.  The crowd that followed kept shouting, “Get rid of him!”  As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?” “Do you speak Greek?” he replied.  “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wilderness some time ago?”  Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.”  After receiving the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic:  “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”  When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat (false) charge was brought against Paul here?
In yesterday’s passage we saw how Paul’s friends in the Jerusalem church came up with a strategy to make him acceptable to the Jews. They didn’t, however, reckon on the Jews from Asia (27), whom we have already encountered (20:19). They were like some people today–making wild accusations in order to stir up the crowd. The people didn’t ask for evidence: they simply swallowed the accusations wholesale and turned on Paul. The rumor spread through the city, first whispered and then shouted, until it became accepted as truth. I wonder what I would have done, if I had been there. Would I have believed the accusations, or would I have waited to give Paul a chance to defend himself? How do we form our opinions of people, be they celebrities mocked by the media, or colleagues, classmates or neighbors? Do we accept unquestioningly what others tell us about a person, or do we wait to hear them speak for themselves? And what is our role in influencing others’ opinions? Do we ever pass on something we’ve heard about a person without checking that the story is actually true?
Ask the Lord to correct you and to forgive you if you have been involved in spreading false rumors or stories about others.
Lord God, I want to give others the same benefit of the doubt that I want for myself. Please help me do that.
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