A Heart like Paul’s

[452 words]

“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises…” – the Apostle Paul (Romans 9:1-4, NASV).

Remember the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz? What he wanted more than anything was to have a heart. He saw himself as an emotionless hunk of metal trapped in a tin body and incapable of feeling. He wanted to know what it was like to have compassion. In the end, what we remember most about the Tin man is that what he so desired—to have a heart—was what he had all along.

The apostle Paul had such a heart for his fellow Jews. In recent years, the apostle Paul has been accused of being many things by those seeking to discredit the New Testament. They have called him “a male chauvinist,” “homophobic,” even “anti-Semitic.” Not true! Paul had a heart for others. In this case, he tells the Romans, and us, that his heart bled for his fellow Jews. The reason for his sorrow and anguish is that his own people had rejected Jesus of Nazareth as the Savior of the world.

Paul loved his fellow Jews—his brothers, those of his own race, the people of Israel. He didn’t mock them. He didn’t ridicule them. He didn’t hate them or condemn them, nor did he encourage the Gentile Christians to do so. Instead, he says: If I could, I would go to hell itself in place of my fellow Jews. How many people would be willing to do this, even for their friends? But Paul was willing to do this for the very same people who killed his Lord and who would eventually cause him to be martyred (according to historical records).

This is the very heart that led our Savior to horribly suffer on the cross in our place.

Do we have such a heart?

The truth is God wants all people to be saved. That means he wants Jews and Gentiles, Americans, Africans, Europeans, Russians, Palestinians, Israelis, Iraqis, Chinese, homosexuals, men-haters, wife beaters, child molesters—all people! He calls them all to repent and know forgiveness (2 Peter 3:9).

It takes people who have a heart for people to share this truth with others. It takes a heart like Paul’s!

Larry Fitzgerald
Woodlawn church of Christ
Abilene, TX

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