After they had been… thrown into prison…
Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. Acts 16:23-25
WELCOME TO PHILIPPI. Paul’s experience in this city looked nothing like its tourist literature. He and his company had arrived for a stay and were leading people to Jesus and starting a church. But the city leaders were convinced that his message would upset the status quo, so they had Paul and Silas arrested, beaten, and thrown into a dungeon. Unfortunately, Paul had experienced several similar tours of Mediterranean jails, so instead of sulking in silence, he and his buddy considered prison their new mission field. The Dungeon Choir drew the attention of the other prisoners and even the jailer got saved. When the anti-Jesus mob couldn’t shut them up, they ran them out of town. And that was Paul’s introduction to Philippi.
How would you feel about a place that had treated you that way? It would be understandable if Paul wanted to shake the dust off his sandals and vow never to return. Holding a grudge or crossing them off his list would be reasonable. At the very least, he may try to forget it ever happened and focus his efforts on people who appreciated his message.
But when Paul was invited to be a guest in another city jail, he wrote a warm letter to the church at Philippi. Some in that church may have been the very people who had mocked, arrested, and beaten him. But since that time, they had accepted the message they once rejected and been added to the church. Paul’s former enemies were included in his loving letter to the church at Philippi.
Who has been crossed off your list because of what they did?
What if God wants to use you to bless them?