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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen’

Acts 7:59-60a
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

Interesting that Stephen does not say, “I forgive them,” but asked, as Jesus did, that the Lord God forgive them. There is a fine line difference and it’s worth noting, I think.

I’m guessing Stephen never held anything against them in the first place. From the get-go, he was able to keep their “issues” separate from his own. But to pray to God and ask Him to forgive one’s adversaries is proof of a higher concern: that their actions would not block them from eternal things.

Hmm. I’m a long way from this place, this higher level of forgiveness. I’m still struggling with the one on one type. Maybe I should try this God forgiveness first. Would looking at the difficult relationships in my life through the eternal eyes of God give me new personal perspective? Perhaps the little irritations would be less irritating. Perhaps the memories would be less vivid. Perhaps the patterns would finally break.

Have I secretly hoped that God would take on my banner of revenge? Romans 12:19 does say that God will avenge. Have I been playing a game of extending personal forgiveness while hoping all the while that my magnanimity would heap burning coals on the heads of my “enemies?”

Oh, secret heart, look what peeling away some layers has revealed. Forgive me… and yes, forgive them… the list is long, but you know them all… my friends, my colleagues, my staff, my neighbors, my family, my customers, my classmates, my church, my students, my politicians, my leaders, my relatives, my strangers… who am I to say that my feelings, my pain, my fears, and my disappointments must be avenged? Who am I to say?

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