As you can see by the picture, confusion is not a good look for me. Even 20 years ago, I didn’t like it. And neither does my sweet hubby. My husband is wonderful—but he sees no reason that decisions cannot be made in an orderly fashion within a reasonable amount of time. “And why can’t we plan for the future in order to meet our needs?” he asks. This amazing man has kept us afloat in good times and bad, and I’m so thankful for this part of his nature. However, with a young family, confusion was inevitable sometimes. But when confusion reigned…he balked.
When our daughters were elementary age and stayed overnight with other families, sometimes those families didn’t know what they’d be doing or when they’d bring our daughters home. Very frustrating for Papa Roy. When our girls were teens, and began arranging their own social calendars, nothing brought down Daddy’s wrath like confused schedules, missed appointments, and irresponsibility. If you gotta have a soapbox, I reckon confusion is a good place to stand. It was confusion that nailed Eve in the Garden of Eden. “Did God really say…?” that sneaky old serpent asked. Confusion is the breeding ground for lots of bad stuff. If you live in a state of confusion, living too fast for too long…stop it. Step off the merry-go-round, and peek at Paul’s life.
Acts 21:27-29 – “When the seven days [of Paul’s vow] were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, shouting, ‘Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place.’ (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple area.)” (emphasis added)
Confusion breeds misperception.
Paul’s accusers shouted vague indictments, and when they realized their ranting might not sufficiently rile the crowd, they created a false (though believable) charge. An accusation shrouded in confusion is an injustice waiting to happen. How different this scene would have been if someone would have quieted the crowd and replaced confusion with order.
Acts 21:30-32 – “The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.” (emphasis added)
Confusion breeds disobedience.
The crowd may have been confused about why they were beating Paul, perhaps even unsure of who Paul was, but they KNEW they were breaking Roman law—and it didn’t matter. Until the Romans arrived. It was against the law for Jews to enforce the death penalty, no matter what the crime—thus, the reason Jesus was crucified by Romans, rather than stoned by Jews. Amid confusion, there is a sense of power, a false confidence that we can pick and choose which rules to obey and which to disregard. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t do it in front of a policeman (or Roman guard), don’t do it.
Acts 21:33-36 – “The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. The crowd that followed kept shouting, ‘Away with him!’” (emphasis added)
Confusion breeds blame—and often fuses into anger.
The commander arrested Paul? Seriously. The poor guy was just trying to go to church. But when blame comes from several angles, the commander defers to confusion and gives up on truth. The mob’s frenzy congeals into a single, evil cry, “Away with him!” Anger…it seems to be the only thing the crowd agreed on…and the ultimate result of confusion.
- Lord, when anger is my daily bread, I know confusion is reigning over my spirit. Forgive me, Abba, for allowing anything but Your peace to rule my inner world. I’ve been driven lately by the frenzied mob of tasks that surround me, and they cry, “Take her away! Take her away!” And, indeed, I’ve let the things of this world take me away. Confusion, blame, disobedience—and anger—war within me. Forgive me, Abba. I turn to You alone for the answer to my confusion. One God. One Hope. One everlasting Prince of Peace. Selah.