Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!” Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’[a]” Acts 23:3-5 NIV
I like reading the Bible aloud. Throughout the years I have often read it in bed while Pam falls asleep. Sometimes I fall asleep first which is quite funny to hear the slurring of my words. Anyway, last night I was reading this passage in Acts and was convicted by Paul’s answer to the injustice that he had just received.
Paul had simply said, “ “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.”. The High Priest ordered that he be slapped in the face for making such a claim. Paul then replies with a judgment against the man not knowing it was the High Priest who gave the order.
He quotes Exodus 22:28 You must not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.
Most of us, myself included, think that Paul was probably right in saying what he said. It was truly unfair that he was ordered to be slapped. BUT Paul also knew that the injustice did not give license for him to speak evil about the ruler.
Points to consider
- Who would you consider to be rulers in your life? President, Mayor, Government officials, Teachers, Boss, Parents?
- Is making a joke about the ruler the same as speaking evil?
- How can you make a statement that disagrees with a ruler’s actions without falling into the trap of speaking evil?
- How would making comments or sharing a post on FB, fall into the category of speaking evil?
- When would an apology like Paul’s be necessary for you to make to others who have heard you speak evil?
- Did you notice that blaspheming God and cursing a ruler are in the same passage?
Words matter. God alone is judge. He will hold every ruler (see above list) responsible for their words and actions (this will include your actions). Our calling now is to speak blessing and life, even when we disagree with them, have been treated unfairly, or have suffered injustice.
May God bless you as you “watch your words”, now that you know who your ruler is.
Blessings Love y’all