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I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
(Acts 26:9-11)
These verses reveal Paul's way of life before he encountered the risen Jesus on the way to Damascus. He felt it was his mission to destroy this fledgling sect of Jesus followers. He did everything in his power to make that happen. Verse 10 tell us he was at least partly responsible for the death of some believers. And verse 11 tells us he was primarily responsible for the torture of others.

Here is Paul, telling his story many years later. He has to deal with the ramifications of this story every time he comes back to Judea. He sits in church next to people that he has caused to become widows and orphans. He teaches about grace, mercy and forgiveness to people he has tortured.

It's one thing to talk about God's mercy and grace. It's quite another to have to live it out in daily life. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. In John 14:15-17, 14:26, 15:26 and 16:7-15 Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit to His disciples. And the word He uses to describe the Holy Spirit is the Greek word "Paraclete". It means, "one who consoles or comforts, one who encourages or uplifts, hence refreshes; and/or one who intercedes on our behalf as an advocate in court."

Paul had to rely on the Paraclete to help him, to encourage him.  This is how he is able to write:
Forgetting the past and straining toward what it ahead….
(Phil. 3:13)
In order for us to complete our mission we're going to have to learn to forget. Guilt is a heavy burden. It not only slows us down, it will eventually shut us down if we won't let it go.

We should learn from Paul.  He knew he had to leave the guilt of his poor choices and failures behind. The Holy Spirit will help us do this on a daily basis if we'll let Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know you want me free from guilt so I can fulfill my destiny. I ask You today to teach me to forget and to leave the painful memories of the past behind.  Thank You for the Holy Spirit who will help me with that. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Copyright © Perrin Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Jon Perrin
Web site: Perrin Ministries
Jon and Robin Perrin met at Bible school. They have over 25 years of ministry experience. Besides their family, their greatest passion is empowering leaders and mobilizing churches to reach the unchurched.

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