Read: 1Kings 8:1-66, Acts 7:51-8:13, Psalm 129:1-8, Proverbs 17:1
He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died. (Acts 7:60)
Relate: I’m not one to hold grudges. I don’t get mad easily. I try not to, but what I do, is get even. I have a way with words and too often my verbal wit has been misused to give a cruel response or a snide remark to someone who has upset me. I believe that by God’s grace He is helping me become better with this, but I’m not there yet. I’m not yet nearly at the place Stephen was at the moment of His death. That’s dangerously sad because God might have used my forgiveness as a tool to create a modern Paul but instead, I had an all too human, evil, need for revenge.
I’ve never been stoned (I’ve never been attacked by men throwing rocks at me to the point of death, either), but I do remember dropping a huge boulder on my foot once. I was about to throw it and it slipped from my hands and went straight down. Took off my big toenail. I did drop to my knees and I did, eventually, ask God to forgive the the thrower of the stone but that was because of a few choice words in between the falling to my knees that necessitated my need for forgiveness. Stephen went right from the former to the latter with nothing in between.
React: I heard of a speaker who said, “If you have a barrel full of water and I started shaking it, what’s gonna come out?” Obviously he was answered, “water.” The speaker then asked, “If we claim to have the Spirit of God living inside of us, then what should be coming out when the world starts to shake us up?” When I’m getting kicked around, what comes out? Stephen was full of love, so when the rocks started flying, forgiveness spilled out. What am I full of? What is my first response in unpleasant situations?
God, let my first and only response be You. When life shakes me up, let Your love, Your forgiveness, Your grace be what flows out of me. Fill me up so that there is no room for anything else. I want more of You to the point I am spilling it out into the world around me.