~ Acts 9:8
|Shoes on the Danube Bank|
Why are we blind to those we oppress? How can we be deaf to their cries? These days we seem to care so much about our environmental footprint yet so little about stepping on the toes of people right beside us. Why?
I don't have an answer, but I do wonder if the power of rank and privilege is something to which we cling just because it feels good, and looking under our shoes something from which we run- unless a foot catches us from behind and we *feel the heat*.
Saul of Tarsus was a Jew of Roman privilege who persecuted the early Christians. Heaven only knows what possessed this man, not just to oppress other men, but hunt them down, put them in chains and murder them. Beyond the thrill of power and privilege, a person has to be deluded. Utter darkness.
When Saul was on his way to Damascus, he had a revelation.
The story goes that he heard a voice say, "Why are you persecuting me?" and Saul responded "who are you?", to which the voice simply replied, "I am the one you are persecuting."
In this confrontation with the one he oppressed, Saul immediately recognized the spirit of the other and called him "lord." Lit up by the mysterious touch of grace, he saw his own blindness.
I don't know how truth breaks through denial, how people come to know what (or that) they didn't know, or how a hardened heart cracks open. Is it by force, stunned and humbled by a power greater than ourselves, or by mercy, melted by the blazing fire of love? The transformative effect of light on darkness.