“Meanwhile Saul, still breathing out threats to murder the Lord’s disciples, went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, either men or women, he could bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” So he said, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting!”
Acts 9:1–5 NET
I was at a convenience store on a Lakota reservation when a man, tears streaming from his eyes, asked, “How can God forgive me after I’ve killed so many people?” He had been a sniper in Vietnam and carried his guilt around for years.
“I’ve done some bad stuff, Dan. You wouldn’t be sitting in this building with me if I told you about half of it.” A guy told me once at the Rescue Mission. He had more prison-tattooed skin than bare skin. Most of it was either white supremacist iconography or straight up cuss words.
I got to tell both of these guys about the Apostle Paul. When Jesus said, “Why are you persecuting me?” Jesus revealed two things.
- He lives in His people. When His people go through something, He is going through it in them. When they do something great, He is doing the great thing in them.
- Anyone can be forgiven and saved. It doesn’t matter if you’ve even been killing off God’s poeople. It doesn’t matter how hateful you’ve been.