We recently had a get together with the parents of our son’s school classmate. Both are attorneys and met in their first year at Duke University Law school. The husband grew up in New Jersey and the wife grew up in Louisiana. At one of the first social mixers, the two were introduced. She still spoke with a heavy Louisiana southern drawl. As he listened to her, he exclaimed, “That’s the worst southern accent I have ever heard!”
She was shocked and nearly in tears, but he continued. “So many people who come to Duke are not from the south, but they adopt a southern accent to fit in. Yours is the worst I’ve heard!”
She laughed as she told us, “I thought he was a jerk!”
The couple confided that the story had been repeated countless times, eliciting much laughter and hilarity!
Sometimes we are unfairly or incorrectly judged by our appearance or actions and may be indiscriminately lumped with others when we are speaking or acting truthfully. The Apostle Paul found himself in a similar situation.
As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, "May I say something to you?" And he said, "Do you know Greek? Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?" Paul replied, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people." And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language...
Acts 21:37-40 (ESV)
Paul used the mistaken identification as an opportunity to preach the Gospel to the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem. No matter where he found himself, in chains, in a shipwreck, in a prison, Paul always preached the Gospel. And if someone confused him with another, it was just another opportunity to witness!
Mistaken identity. It may lead to tears, laughter, or it may lead to an opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.