As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
Acts of the Apostles 7:59-60 NLT
I have always been amazed by Jesus’ words from the cross, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
I say that I am a follower of Jesus, but I’m not sure I could have that attitude towards people who were killing me. Stephen was so full of the Holy Spirit that he did act just like Jesus. His last words were, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!”
This idea of forgiveness is tough. It rubs hard against our flesh that wants justice and revenge for those who have wronged us. Jesus told us to love our enemies and forgive those who hurt us. It is a good saying but so hard to practice.
Our minds tend to attack those who hurt us. We paint them as evil and wicked and deserving of something bad to happen to them. It is not human to ask God to forgive those who have hurt us. This takes a divine act of God’s grace in our hearts. It requires that we are living by the Spirit and not by the flesh.
Perhaps, this area of forgiveness is a good thermometer of how much of our life is controlled by the Spirit and how much by the flesh.
Holy Spirit, I want to be able to forgive. I want to love others and forgive freely. Please help me to see people the way You do. Help me to be quick to forgive.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying to you based on today’s reading.