At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
– Acts 9:20-21 (NIV)
When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. – Acts 9:26-27 (NIV)
Look at Paul during his transition from persecutor to preacher. He was constantly met with opposition to his change. People repeatedly questioned him. After all, he had been on his way to persecute the church more than what he had already done. In their opinions, he was still “the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem.” From where they stood, he was still a persecutor of the church.
Thank God that Paul didn’t fall for it. If he had wimped out and succumbed to their views, he would have never accepted going forth with the message as a missionary. He would have wallowed in self-absorbed pity and kept to himself. He would never have raised his voice beyond his original detractors.
God inspires us to go beyond the thoughts and ideas of the very people around us. He inspires us to impact others beyond our family and friends. He offers us fuel to fortify us against the negative perceptions of the people that we may very well be trying to help and who act like we are not worthy of offering such help.
Think for a minute back to 1992 and the riots in Los Angeles that immediately followed the verdict of the Rodney King trial. Many will recall the looting and burning of many parts of the city of Los Angeles. There was Reginald Denny, the white man pulled from his truck and beaten in the streets. The media made that gruesome footage part of our daily diet as it replayed it again and again.
Imagine what breaking news it would be if we all started impacting our world because we were inspired to do so. Don’t simply go with the flow. At times, God will direct you to simply go against the grain. Bobby Green did so in our times. Paul did so in his times. John the Baptist did so. Jesus did so.
Let yourself become inspired to impact others. Let God use you for you to do so.