The rebound of punishment

The rebound of punishment

Acts 23:3 “Then Paul said to him, ‘God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!’”

The Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 25 said that in order to be beaten the person had to be first proven guilty. This is what Paul meant when he called him a whitewashed wall, meaning he was acting as a hypocrite.

Paul may not realise he is prophesying when he says that Ananias would also be struck by God. Historians say actually happened as he spent the final years of his life running away from people who wanted to kill him and who finally got their wishes.

Did Paul speak harshly and angrily as a result of the painful strike on his mouth? Or was he calm? Some would want a peaceful Paul because raising your voice and angrily sentencing a punishment seems sinful.

We don’t know.

What I do know is that all my life I have tried to live by a childhood truth: to treat people the way I would want to be treated. Ananias ignored the Law and treated Paul the way he felt he should be treated.

You may feel all kinds of angry feelings. You may have desires of revenge. However, stay true to the Word of God and pause long enough to realise that one day it is possible that you would want someone to show you grace rather than judgment. Be careful with an offended heart, that it doesn’t punish for what goes out does come back to you.


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