18:5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. 6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue.
Did you ever "run away" when you were a kid? I did. I got angry at my mom one day and announced I was leaving and took off. There was a small grove of trees not too far from our house and I went and hid there. I watched my mom drive by looking for me and then come back by. Eventually sitting in the trees got boring, my blood pressure had dropped, and I went back home.
Paul is human. Paul also forgot for a moment his own history.
Yesterday I was reminded how easy it is to get angry at someone else for doing something we have done ourselves. Human nature is a bummer isn't it? Here we find Paul the former hunter/murderer of those who dared believe in the renegade carpenter from Nazareth and now he's throwing a tantrum because the Jews in Corinth aren't jumping at the news that the man Saul/Paul used to hate is actually their Messiah.
Thankfully God is both patient and has a sense of humour. When Paul storms out of the synagogue because they won't believe and tells them he's done with Jews and is only going to work with Gentiles the man who takes him in and gives him a place to stay lives right next door.
Paul was burning a bridge or trying to. God was keeping the bridge if not intact at least within sight.
The great Christian reformer Martin Luther tried his best to reach out to the Jews with the truth. He wanted them to see and understand that their Messiah had already come. They rejected him. The rejection turned him bitterly against the Jews. He wrote hateful things about them. Little did he know then that he was planting the seeds of the Holocaust.
Be aware of the walls you are tempted to build. Beware of the boxes you put others in. Guard against nursing your own wounds and acting from pride. Jesus was rejected by lots of people but that didn't make Him bitter. He continued building bridges, not walls.
There are some heated issues in our world today. It is tempting to put others in boxes based on their colour, religion, or country of origin. Don't do it. Build bridges, not walls. God is love and His love knows no bounds. Give the offenses and the frustrations and the hurt to Him. We're all broken. He's the healer. He's got the whole world in His hands. Love has already won.