St Paul and suffering
Paul had a knack for upsetting people and even inciting riots. Luke reports that within days of Paul’s acceptance of Jesus Christ, the new preacher had stirred up the Jews in Damascus to the point that they wanted to kill him and he had to sneak out of town (Acts 9:23). According to Acts, he was stoned at Lystra and dragged out of the city (14:19). At Philippi he was beaten and jailed (16:22). In Jerusalem he caused a riot (21:31). In Caesarea 40 men took an oath not to eat until they had killed him (23:21). In Rome he was guarded by a soldier (28:16). In his own accounting Paul remembered being whipped five times with forty lashes minus one, being stoned three times, and having endured imprisonments, beatings and numerous brushes with death (2 Cor 11:23-25). Diplomacy is probably not a term we can comfortably apply to Paul.