WHY DO YOU PERSECUTE ME?
“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’” (Acts 9: 1-6)
Now, this question takes Saul by surprise: Why do you persecute “me”? Because Saul’s “righteous” anger was directed not against this loving voice, belonging to One he did not even know or recognize, but against a bunch of people, men and women belonging to “the Way,” – a new, un-traditional, and hence unacceptable, in Saul’s eyes, Way of the Cross. And he had perfectly-legitimate “letters” from the high priest himself, to bring these troublemakers to justice.
If ever I am tempted to lash out at other cross-carriers, in confrontations and arguments that may occur amongst us online, let me be stopped in my tracks by our One Lord’s question to Saul: Why…? Why are you doing this to Me? Forgive us, Lord, for oftentimes we know not what we do, when we’re at each other’s necks online and elsewhere. “Let us love one another, that we may with one mind confess” You, in Your humility and patience.