Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them”.
If I’m clearly in the right, and I KNOW I’m in the right, yet people decide to wrong me anyway – because of the good I am doing, I’m not 100% sure I’ll be so willing not to hold it against them. If people are THROWING STONES at me because of the good that I’m trying to do, I’m definitely not feeling like Steven – don’t hold this against them.
But in Matthew 5, Jesus gives us instructions to be just like Steven was. He admonishes us to be meek (vs. 5) and merciful (vs. 7). He goes as far as to say in vs. 10-11,
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
It’s tough to swallow, but it’s what Jesus wants. Steven’s words mirrored those of Jesus at His crucifixion. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
What exactly this means for your life and your personal situation, I do not know. Have a conversation with Jesus and ask Him to reveal His personal message to you.
I want to be like Jesus. Do you?