17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’
19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’
21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ “
22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” Acts 22:17-22
They didn’t have a problem with Paul having a dream about a man they thought was dead. They didn’t have a problem with his entire conversion experience, that is, until he told them about Jesus telling him to go to the Gentiles. Then they wanted him dead. In verse 21, he exposed their hatred. How could anyone possibly want another group of people to know God? What Paul was saying was blasphemy to their ears.
Hatred will just fester inside of you until it can no longer be contained. The output will be bitterness and venom. You’ll say or do things you didn’t know you were capable of doing.
In the case of the townspeople, they wanted to kill Paul. We’ve all seen this kind of hatred. It doesn’t start out that way. Normally it starts out as a simple wrong that’s been done. Before long, the wrong turns into a grievance and into anger and then hatred if not kept in check.
What does that mean exactly?
It means that at the first sign of wrongs or grievances, we need to deal with it. Every situation’s going to be different. But if we don’t deal with it, it will not end well.