After having “reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath” and being “opposed… and blasphemed,” Paul “shook his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean,’” (Acts 18:4-6). Paul’s reaction in the face of such stark rejection of the truth was an unpleasant but evidently necessary response on this occasion. However, one cannot expect to speak such bold truth without repercussions. It takes courage to be bold.
The Scripture does not give us any direct indication of Paul’s mood after this confrontation with such a belligerent audience but it must have caused him concern. Why else would the Lord speak to Paul directly and encourage him? The Lord’s message was: “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10). So Paul continued his bold preaching for a year and a half (v. 11).
There arises, on occasion, the need to be straight-forward and blunt. Understand that it is often because the audience is unwilling to accept simple, Divine truth. When this occurs, “do not be afraid.” The cost in eternal souls is too high to cater to sensitivities. That is not to say that we do not “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) or keep our speech “seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6) but we should never sacrifice the truth; truth is our only hope (John 14:6). “For he himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5). “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28a).
It takes courage to be a Christian in the face of militant rejection but with Christ, we can be bold.