A horse was shot twice with a crossbow and survived after four fellow mares spent three hours taking turns licking the wound clean. The 20-year-old horse, Zeta, was in critical condition after one of the arrows bounced off her rib, while another lodged an inch from her lung as she grazed in a field in the U.K.
Zeta's owner, Jo Young, said the four other horses saved Zeta’s life. “It was really touching that when she was found the other horses in the field were nuzzling her for comfort and licking the wound,” Young said. “They kept the wound clean which would have prevented it from being infected by bacteria. It also helped to stem the blood flow….There was definitely a herd instinct kicking in among the horses. They knew Zeta was in need and they rallied round to save her,” he said.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians and encouraged them to display the same care one to another, “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26). Source: The Sun, May, 18, 2010…Submitted by Bill Prater
Comforting each other will often require uncomfortable situations — to comfort will require confronting ourselves.
What keeps you from comforting another and encouraging a discipleship relationship? Is the other person too grumpy? Is the situation too dangerous? Would the person in need require too much time away from personal pursuits? The obvious, but vital question is this — where would the Lord want us to invest our time? James 1:27
Barnabas must confront himself and others before he will truly comfort Saul.
Look at Acts 9:26-27. Saul is in a challenging position right now. He is newly saved and baptized (Acts 9:18). He has preached in the synagogue and has confounded the Jews in Damascus …leaving these Jews unable to argue against Saul’s preaching of the Messiah (Acts 9:19-22).
Do you remember when it was announced that Donald Trump was elected president? You may seen an online video of a person knelt down in the streets, weeping, and screaming “Noooo!” This was all done in response to the announcement of Donald Trump as the new president. This scream was as though a young family member was just murdered right in front of their eyes. Every election cycle there is a president elected that someone doesn’t like. So, while the outcome of this election was not unique (a president someone didn’t like was elected), the response was shockingly immature and very public. A bystander recorded this unbelievable event and posted it online. We could say there is an extreme lack of emotional maturity in this situation. It is even reminiscent of a 3 or 4-year-old child screaming in the aisles of a department store because their parent told them they would not buy that toy or that bag of candy.
In arguments among mature people, we are often able to agree to disagree and then go our separate ways. However, in Acts 9:23 the Jews in Damascus who clearly did not win the debate with Saul over ‘Jesus the man’ verses ‘Jesus the Messiah’ --- were conspiring together on how they might commit murder! These Jews hated Jesus. Saul had now exposed their foundations and assertions regarding Jesus as false. Saul became their new target.
Think about it! JESUS had many followers, the Jewish spiritual leaders became envious, and they murdered Jesus — the One who did no crime as the worst of criminals. Perhaps they thought that would quiet the masses? After all, intimidation has often been and continues to be an effective means to an end...even though it is very faulty. STEPHEN then spoke up in Jerusalem and they stoned him. Many others remained faithful to Jesus and they threw them into jail. Things were getting out of control, but they had Saul. Saul was an extremely well-educated man who aggressively began to do all he could to stamp out these followers of Jesus. He left his mark in Jerusalem, and now he has orders from the chief priests to do the same in Damascus. But something happened on his way to Damascus – Saul. Gets. Saved. Now, their biggest champion has become their great opponent. Their envy nurtured their bitterness & anger. Such bitterness and anger moved them to malice (wanting to do someone harm)!
It goes on — the problem for Saul is double fold! The disciples also don’t want anything to do with him. He probably feels himself to be the enemy of all and the friend of none. The Jews wanted to kill him, so he escapes to Damascus (over the walls at night – Acts 9:25). Galatians 1:17-18 tells us he then went to Arabia, and even returned to Damascus at some point. It wasn’t until three years later that Saul returns to Jerusalem (the scene of his original persecution campaign against the church) and the disciples were still afraid of him and still didn’t trust him (Acts 9:26). Why, after 3 years, are the disciples still afraid of Saul and refuse to trust him?
Because, they continue to remember his violence against the believers…their good friends and family members.
They have not seen him for 3 years. They only remember their last contact with him. The passing of time does not solve past conflict. It must be confronted to find healing.
God then brings Barnabas forward for such a time as this. Let’s look at the first key to find healing after conflict —-
Fear Must Look Right (Fear God…not man)
“…all afraid of him and believed not.” (Acts 9:26)
Can you imagine a husband wanting to regain a relationship with his wife after verbally abusing her or after physically threatening their children? She could readily forgive him, but it would take time to regain her trust. Rebuilding trust would take time and consistent new behaviors. It would require a transformation from the inside out evidenced over the passing of time.
God does something very special here. He sends Barnabas to speak on Saul’s behalf. Someone who the disciples trusted needed to step in and recommend Saul as a co-laborer. Do you realize what this means?
The Lord is expecting the disciples to forgive Saul and begin to trust him again…even after all he had done!
When we deal with those who have hurt us, we need to begin with forgiveness. Then, the rebuilding of trust must begin. This is a long process that requires patience for everyone involved. In part, this journey needs to look like this…
Assume the best (I Corinthians 13:7)
Fear God more than man (Proverbs 29:25)
Consider the Word…not crowd approval (Psalm 84:11-12; Psalm 119:9-11; John 17:17)
How are you approaching the relationships that have hurt you? This is a difficult journey. Significant conflict usually comes from those with whom you have a close relationship. Whether it is your own family, your past church experiences from years gone by, your co-workers, or even your own spouse – where are you on the journey of rebuilding relationship with a truly repentant believer? Have you been trying to start the process of healing after conflict for many years? It does take time to rebuild trust, but it cannot happen unless we begin the journey. Saul’s relationship with the disciples would never be the same as it was before his offenses. It actually…eventually… became better.