so they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. but the people of the city were divided; some sided with the jews and some with the apostles. when an attempt was made by both gentiles and jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to lystra and derbe, cities of lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they continued to preach the gospel. [acts 14:3-7]


as we follow Jesus, we are called to speak the truth in love. we can’t allow our love to become people pleasing and water down the truth, but we also can’t allow our truth to become judgement and turn our love to hate.


that balance is tough and there’s no simple formula for how to balance the two. what we must do is rely on the Holy Spirit in us to guide and prompt us to love as Jesus did. we see him interact and love sinners all throughout the gospels, but he never waters down the truth that he is the way, the truth, and the life, and that we as sinners must repent from our sin, turn, and follow him.

ultimately, Jesus says this:

“do you think that i have come to give peace on earth? no, i tell you, but rather division.” [luke 12:51]


there were people who looked Jesus in the face and walked away. people who saw miracles and heard him teach. people who looked the savior of the world in the face and said, “no thanks.”

so of course we will encounter people who choose to not follow Jesus. we may be persecuted in a variety of ways, differently all over the globe. but through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, and only through that power, we have the opportunity to choose to love those people anyway, just as Jesus did.


and despite all of the division we may face, all the persecution, and all of the difficulties of life, may it be said of us as it was of paul and barnabas:

and there they continued to preach the gospel. [acts 14:7]


make it so, Lord.



~ john sandman