Less Than The Facts
Today's reading: Acts 21:17-36
I love how the Bible is our go to place for spiritual teaching and lessons, but I also love how it is loaded with practical, common sense examples. Today as I read about Paul's coming to Jerusalem in Acts 21, it was the practical side of things that drew my attention. Although many Jews were coming to Christ, many others remained staunchly committed to following Old Testament law. Verse 20 refers to this group as being "zealous for the law." And the zealousness of this group leads them down a bad path. You see, rather than observing and listening to Paul and then making a reasoned determination about his teaching, they fall into what I like to refer to as the trap of assumption. In other words, they make decisions and take action based upon less than the facts. So the crowd in Acts 21 are proceeding on conjecture and guesswork. We see in verse 21 that they have been influenced by rumors ("they have been told about you"). And then in verses 28-29 things escalate further because this group jumps to negative conclusions and reacts without making any effort to substantiate what they have seen and/or heard ("For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple" (vs. 29)). The end result is a bunch of upset and angry people who are so out of control that they want to kill Paul and would have if the Roman authorities hadn’t shown up to put a stop to the riot.
Has proceeding on assumptions led you down an inappropriate path in the past? Why is it so important (particularly within the body of Christ) to obtain and process all the facts of a situation before you take action? Tami
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