In order to get something from someone else, often we feel it is necessary to do a little schmoozing. We believe that by inflating the potential giver’s ego, they will be more willing to give what we desire. And, if we negate any detrimental qualities or activities of our own or embellish any positive ones, the probability of receiving what we want increases exponentially. What is at risk in both cases is the truth. When truth is sacrificed, the value of what we seek to gain is also sacrificed.
Claudius Lysias the Roman chief captain had rescued the Apostle Paul from the Jewish people. After hearing of a plot to assassinate Paul, he sent him to Felix, the governor of province for examination. With him a letter was sent explaining the situation. It opened with a mild schmoozing, calling Felix the “most excellent governor.” He then conveyed how it became that Paul was sent to him saying that he had rescued him from the Jews who would have killed Paul, but he would not allow it knowing that Paul was a Roman citizen. The truth is that Lysias could not have cared less about Paul’s welfare. After capturing Paul, Lysias was wanting to scourge Paul until he found out about his Roman citizenship (Acts 22:22-29). What was Lysias hoping would happen with his perversions? Scripture does not state the answer but it seems probable that he hoped for some sort of commendation. There is no record that he got it.
It took 5 days for the Jews to come to Caesarea from Jerusalem, a trip that should been accomplished in a day or two. What was happening on the other days? I suggest they were conspiring to formulate a congruous testimony against Paul. When given opportunity, Tertullus spoke for the group. He began by exalting Felix as the best thing since sliced bread (24:2-4). Then he stated the charges against Paul, all of which were either false or greatly exaggerated (24:5-6). He then proclaimed that they would have handled the situation (inferring that it would have been a bother to Felix: oh what nice guys they were) but Lysias took him out of their hands with “great violence” (24:7). Question: why was it necessary for Lysias to use great violence? With civil authority, all Lysias had to do was command them to release Paul and they should have obeyed. What did the Jews want? Not justice but the death of Paul at any cost. They didn’t get it.
Then Paul was given opportunity to defend himself. While he spoke respectfully to Felix, he did not schmooze, for according to the historian, Tacitus, there was not much about Felix to commend. Paul stated accurately the events that had transpired and asked why there were no witnesses presented by the Jews concerning their charges when witnesses to the events were available. When all was done, Felix dismissed the Jews in order to seek more information from Lysias. Truth prevailed.
But there is one more person to examine and that is Felix. In the days that followed, Felix allowed Paul a number of freedoms and he met with Paul a number of times wanting to hear of Paul’s faith in Jesus Christ, or at least that is what he pretended. Actually, Felix wanted a bribe to release Paul (23:26). Paul would not do it. Why? Because Paul rested in the hope of the truth of a promise from God that he would one day testify of Christ in Rome (23:11). I guess it is needless to state, but Paul was eventually sent to Rome. Truth prevailed.
Why does truth prevail? Because God is a God of truth (Hebrews 6:18). Whenever anyone operates in the realm of truth they display one of the glories of God. Everything of value in life is from God. Every time we seek to attain something, if we do so by schmoozing or negating truth, we minimize or even destroy that object’s value. It’s as simple as this: You schmooze, you lose.