In this passage of scripture Stephen (who we talked about yesterday) has been brought to face the religious rulers for essentially being so effective for the sake of the gospel in word and deed. So many people were coming to the Lord through his ministry the Jews couldn’t not notice his positive effect and they were so afraid that many more people would convert to Christianity so, they made up false accusations against him to have him killed. Then Stephen filled with the Holy Spirit and in the process of being murdered by stoning says one of the most Christ like lines in the whole bible, he Knelt down and cried with a loud voice “Lord do not charge them with this sin”
Just sit and think about that line for a few days!
When you are being murdered!
Stephen had the mind to ask God to forgive them!
I thought only Jesus was that lovingly minded!
Again, this is amazing evidence of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in a yielded Christians life.
Unfortunately, because Stephen was so effective for the spreading of the gospel through his humble ministry work, he became the first Christian to be martyred for the faith.
Every time I read this passage I get convicted of the way I react in different situations when I feel I am under attack. It is not my first thought to be forgiving little lone ask God to forgive them. Generally, that comes days later when I have calmed down. Oh to be so heavenly minded in every situation to know and hear the prompting of God through the Holy Spirit. This is a stark reminder of the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:14-15 “for if you forgive people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins”.
Forgiving others is a command of Christ, it is a non-negotiable, we are hypocrites if we accept the grace and forgiveness of God and don’t forgive others!
Who do you need to forgive from the heart?
Take a moment and ask God to reveal to you who you need to forgive.
Lord forgive me for my sins and I forgive all who have sinned against me. Lord do not charge any sin to anyone on my account. I thank you for your complete forgiveness and I completely forgive all and lay aside any bitterness and hate. Lord fill me with your Holy Spirit that I will forgive even before the sin against me is over, just like Stephen and our Lord Jesus.