Saul proved his hatred by his actions
When Stephen was killed for his faith and became the first martyr for Christendom, Saul was there, agreeing to his death. It was the day of Stephen’s death that persecution began. He was part of the crowd of people against the Christians.
People were afraid of Saul. He was educated, ruthless, and passionate about what he was doing. His greatest desire was to annihilate the Christian Jews. He had permission to visit churches and carry men and women off to prison. Saul was on a mission.
Jesus proved Who He is
Then Saul met Jesus. It was an unordinary encounter, and it changed Saul completely. Blinded by the light that shone on him during his encounter with Jesus, Saul was taken to the house of Judas on Straight street. There, he waited on God. The man God intended to go visit him didn’t want to go. Ananias said, “I’ve heard about this man and the danger he is to Christians. Why should I go put myself in jeopardy?”
He went, because God explained the change in Saul. During his visit, the scales from Saul’s eyes fell off and he could see.
God did a work in Saul. Not only did his name become Paul, he had a changed heart. He started preaching and teaching, excited about his relationship with Jesus. He wanted to be a part of the church that he had once been so completely trying to destroy.
Scripture tell us that “When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. Do we wonder why?!
When the change is real, actions prove it
None of these disciples had seen the change in Paul because it was so new and they had not seen his interactions with others. All they knew was what his past was like. In time, Paul proved himself to those who doubted him.
Sure, he had a few men who vouched for his change of heart, but the real proof came when his actions portrayed his changed heart. Not only did the disciples need to forgive Paul for his past, they had to learn to trust him. That only came by the change in Paul’s actions. He proved himself to them.
I think of this story sometimes when I want to defend myself or set someone straight about truth or fiction. I realize that the only real way to know someone has changed is by what we ourselves observe in them. That’s how trust is restored – because actions speak louder than words.
Show – don’t tell is the way to prove it
When you’re discouraged because it seems others don’t think your change is real, take heart and remember this story. In time, the disciples welcomed Paul’s contribution to the church because they witnessed the change in the man who had once been their enemy. They didn’t need anybody to tell them or point it out to them. They found out for themselves when they witnessed the fruit of a changed heart.
I’m so glad Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Because of that changed heart, the gospel was taken to the Gentiles. Because the gospel was shared with the Gentiles, I am a child of God. It happened because the change in a man was genuine and real. Everybody knew, and in time people believed the change because they saw it with their own eyes. We don’t have to prove ourselves to others. All we have to do is let them see the change in us – with their own eyes.