If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of what happened today. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it.” After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly. (Acts 19:38-41)
The craftsmen had seized Gaius and Aristarchus and started a riot in the theatre because they were angry Paul had shown the Ephesians who the real God of the universe was and stopped buying the silver statues of Artemis (Diana) they created. After the city clerk recognized a small amount of truth in the crowd’s grievance, the craftsmen and other rioters listened to him.
Practicing Christianity wasn’t against the law. The Romans considered it a different sect of Judaism since they worshiped the same God. Because they had no grounds for a legal battle, the city clerk dismissed the Ephesians and they went home.
When someone hurts our pocketbook, we often overreact. I got upset when an appliance repairman charged me as much to fix an appliance as it cost to buy a new one and when a car salesman added a $699 dealer fee to the price of my new car. I learned to buy new appliances instead of getting the old one repaired and to ask for the out-the-door price when buying a car.
When you feel someone has wronged you and there’s no legal grievance (and sometimes when there is), it’s better to take calming breaths and find a lesson learned than overreact with anger.
Father, I praise You for Your love. Help me make a New Year’s resolution to take calming breaths when I’m angry and then spread Your love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.