We are reminded here of the abrupt turn around that there was in Paul's attitude and life after his Damascus Road experience. He was so sure of himself as he rode along towards Damascus: he trusted in his own obedience to the Law and knew that it was right for him to seek out and persecute the followers of the pernicious sect of Christianity. Then Jesus met him and all his certainties blew away and he was left naked at the feet of the One He had been searching all his life for without knowing it! After that, there could be no turning back. Following Jesus in freedom from the Law became his foundation and he opposed all who might suggest that circumcision of Gentile converts would encourage Jews to convert to the Christian faith too. Paul was not a man for compromise! Paul knew that his life and faith was in total reliance on Christ's work and the Holy Spirit's power. It must have been tempting to receive some of the plaudits for himself, but he knew who he was, 'the greatest of sinners' and Paul didn't cover up his failings. In the book of Acts record of the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8 v 1), we read that Saul (Paul's name before Jesus met him) was standing by the clothes of the men who were throwing the stones. This is a likely indicator that he was the one in charge of bringing about the death penalty: Paul had blood on his hands! I don't believe that we are meant to forget our past. We may have committed large or small errors, but they are a part of what we have become now. We are not intended to continually go back over them, Jesus has forgiven us, but they are there to remind us of the path we were following, of where we may have ended up if Jesus hadn't intervened. We are called to reflect, but not to hold on to our guilt.
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