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Old 01-25-2010, 08:13 PM
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Tyburn Tyburn is offline
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Default Conversion of Saul

Has anyone ever wondered how some of the persecuted Christians might have felt when Saul underwent his dramatic Conversion Experience and came out as one of the most influential people in the Early Church?

Has anyone ever wondered why the the Other Apostles were fine with letting Paul go to the Heathen rather then to the Jew?

I wonder how many Christians that Saul had harmed, came into contact with him later in his life as Saint Paul, and I wonder how they felt about his prominent position in the Church

Alot of Christians believe that Paul should have been the apostolic replacement for Judas, in many ways they swapped places. Judas moved from light into darkness, and Saul moved from Darkness into Light. The first sin of the Early Church was in ellecting a replacement when they were told not to do so right away.

It an interesting thing to think about at this point in the year as the church marks the first of three Feast Days in Saint Paul's Honour (the others being his survival at Shipwreck, and his martyrdom which he shares in the callendar with Saint Peter)

I wonder if there were those who struggled with a man being let into the inner circle of Christians who had killed a great number of them, or been behind their harm. I wonder if some might have thought that he was going undercover to finish off the Christians once and for all. I wonder how many of them trusted him, or liked him.

I wonder this, because I have been persecuted myself, and the man who did damage to me in the past, will receive an extreme honour this week in a place not very far from my locality. My first reaction is to be sad, to insist that the church has made a mistake in appointing such a person. I wonder how many christians initially rejected Paul as either legitamate, or worthy.

My second reaction was to be angry, how could the Church knowingly honour this man? how could they reward him when I was left in tatters. I wonder how many Christians were angry at Paul for possible harm he might have done to them as Saul, or maybe members of their family. I cant think that anyone who was friends with Saint Stephen would embrace the guy who was responsible for his murder can you?

Our biggest problem is that when we are wronged we want the person to somehow pay for what they have done. We are not thinking of the War Effort. We should not be wanting our Enemies to die, or to go down into the pit. That would be a pyric victory. An Enemy often equates to someone who is not saved, or someone who we cant believe is saved due to their actions towards us.

But if there is a chance that a bad man can be transformed...is that not more fitting then a bad man being lost...because in essence its the middle finger at the Evil One who thought he was guarenteed a prisoner of war...and surely nothing is more gratifying then denying the Devil the chance to claim someone that GOD created.

Perhaps this week something miraculous WILL happen when the priest who hurt me becomes a Bishop. Perhaps he will be transformed away from the nasty man he was as a Canon, and into someone more like Christ...perhaps Consecration will not validate his wrongfulness, but actually purify his rightfulness. That would certainly be my prayer.

I forgave the man a long time ago, after watching a film called "Doing Hard Time" you oughta look it up...its about what revenge can do to a person who seeks it after being wronged....but I cant forget what he did because I still live with the consequences.

Apt then, that this occures around the time where we should be thinking about Transformation from old to new, from bad to good and from Darkness into light.

I leave you with a track you might have heard me post before. Its Called The Conversion of Saul and its in a setting by Z Randall Stroope. Its divided into three sections. The first is sticcato latin, its loud, full of anger and hate, it is a tad unpleasent to hear. The third Section is in English and is gentle and slow, full of pleasent if slightly haunting harmonics. The connecting section is a simple three word cadence

"Why Do You Persecute Me"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2Fjur0SpG4

Caedite, vexate, ligate vinculis!
Vinculis, condemnate vexate

Why do you persecute me

Fall down on your knees
turn hatred into love.
Turn darkness into light.
Bow down, Saul!
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:17 PM
Maglorius
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I wonder if Paul once being converted did he go and ask for forgiveness from those that he persecuted. It takes a Christ like heart to be able to forgive someone who has sinned against you and to be able to pray for them to be healed. I probably would have been completely suspicious of Paul and would be looking for anything that I could jump all over him and crush him.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:38 PM
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Tyburn Tyburn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maglorius View Post
I wonder if Paul once being converted did he go and ask for forgiveness from those that he persecuted. It takes a Christ like heart to be able to forgive someone who has sinned against you and to be able to pray for them to be healed. I probably would have been completely suspicious of Paul and would be looking for anything that I could jump all over him and crush him.
It depends. I doubt Saul kept a list of all the things he did to hurt Christians, unless they were quite large....His Missions did take him to Greece...which is where I believe Saint Stephen came from...but it would have been so powerful you would have thought it would have made the Scriptural Canon in Acts had he met with any relations of Stephen and appologised (a nice touch would have been to return to them the Garments that he gained after Stephen was clubbed to death.

As for myself, and my issue along this same theme. There were three chances that this guy had to appologise for his wrong doing. The first was the day after the event when he came round and told me he would not be actively persuing as prosecution, but he couldnt and wouldnt stop a trial. The second was the day I formally forgave him...he had no reply for that one, and the third was at my exit interview where he admitted only that his actions had been "Regrettable" but he stop short of any notion of repentance

He underwent his honour today infact. I feel at peace about it because I have thought it through and prayed about it, and the above is the conclusion I come to. Perhaps this will not be felt as a reward to him...or perhaps it is, because GOD actually has plans to transform him and use him for good. GOD hasnt told me, because its none of my business...part of me wonders if now it makes more sense why it felt like GOD directly got in my way when I tried to take up active employment with York Minister...but all he has confirmed to me, is that this is the righteous way to handle and think about the matter...I dont need to like it or approve of it...but I have no power over it...so I am left with two choice...accept it, or deny it. Denial might hurt me more then it hurts him, Denial might be going against GODs personal wishes...or I can accept it, and pray that GOD actually help him...GOD knows he bloody needs it
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