on the next day we departed and came to caesarea, and we entered the house of philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. he had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. [acts 21:8-9]


for some reason, i have trouble fathoming this moment and imagining the emotion felt in the room.


paul and philip – around 2 decades have past since their last involvement. their last interaction involved paul’s approval of stephen’s murder – an act that was surely hard for philip to forget.

stephen was a friend of philip’s, and more than that, one of his immediate co-laborers in the gospel. a brother in Christ.


just in reading that, i’m angry on philip’s behalf.


as i feel anger starting to rise, i’m realizing that bitterness may be easier for me than forgiveness. maybe you’re realizing that too.

now, i’m not saying that philip was perfect, that he was never angry at paul, and that he never struggled with forgiveness. but, there is no indication of that here in these verses.


this raises the question: who do you need to forgive today? who do i need to forgive today?

maybe it’s time we forgave that boss. or that parent. that person in the church who said or did that thing all those years ago that you just can’t forget. your spouse, or maybe that person who hurt your spouse. the list goes on.


why should we forgive?

1: Jesus calls us to forgive.

“for if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – matthew 6:14-15


2. God calls us to live peaceably with everyone.

“if possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” – romans 12:18


3. the gospel is too important to be hindered by bitterness.

the world shouldn’t see the body of Christ bitter at one another, distracted from sharing the love and truth of Jesus.


God, soften our hearts to forgiveness today. convict us today of where we need to forgive, and fill us with boldness to forgive. 

maybe forgiveness comes in a conversation today. maybe a text. maybe it’s between you and the Lord.

today, may we allow those who have wronged us to experience a taste of the forgiveness they can know fully through Jesus.


~ john sandman