Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Trust and kindness

I have been reading Acts 27, about the start of the journey Paul makes on a ship to Rome with other prisoners, under guard by a centurion called Julius. They are faced with severe storms, near desertion by the crew, no food for 14 days due to the stress and finally being ship wrecked.

What really stands out for me and has been muling over my mind for a few days now is Acts 27:3 "Julius, in kindness to Paul allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for him." Later on during their travels in Acts 27:42, to prevent prisoners escaping when they were shipped wrecked, the soldiers had planned to kill them including Paul (should a prisioner escape, the guard would face disciplinary and certain dismissal by death). Yet Julius the Centurion intervened and prevented this terminal plan and trusted that the prisoners would not escape.

Now you could rightly argue that the centurion didn't show either kindness or trust because they were his prisoners and some were likely to face death when they reached Rome. Only one act could show him in any good light and that would be to free them all. Whatever your stance is, he certainly went against his training and his superiors, risking paying the ultimate price. And this is were I have been challenged and have had to face up to my trust issues (I am very fortunate that death is not a punishment I face). I am left with two questions, would it be an act of kindness to trust someone? And did Julius show kindness by trusting that the prisoners would not escape, preventing the soldiers from carrying out their plan and allowing Paul to go to his friends even though he was a captive?

I don't know about you, but aren't you intrigued after reading Acts 27 to know what happened to Julius, did Jesus our Lord come knocking at his door?

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