Audience Abuse

Alfred Hitchcock said, “Always make the audience suffer as much as possible”. Feelings are powerful tools. Paul understood this. His Pharisee credential got him into the synagogue where he told Jews they killed the Messiah they claimed to be looking for. Then he let them stew in their hypocrisy. He made them suffer, but there was a reason. Elect Jews were identified by their repentance, extracted from the synagogue, and formed the nucleus of churches in every city. He also knew when people had suffered enough. Jewish converts were treated with respect. The Romans got the undiluted truth about God’s rejection of the Jews and the equally strong message that the formerly Jewish believers in their midst need to be treated with kindness, respect, and patience. This included tolerating unnecessarily strict preferences toward culture, calendar, and cuisine. The situation hasn’t changed. There is a time to hurt, and a time to heal. Once the harsh realities have done their work, we need to sooth the situation with grace and patience.

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