Then [Stephen] knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."
–Acts 7:60

Acts 7:30-60

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Today we continue reading Stephen’s speech before the Council.

He has retold the story of Israel beginning with Abraham and concludes by reminding them that it was they who crucified Jesus, the Righteous One, and in so doing have become betrayers and murderers of God.

Their response? They are filled with rage and gnash their teeth at him. When Stephen tells them he now sees the exalted Jesus standing at the right hand of God, they drag him outside and stone him to death.

As the rocks are flying towards his head, he prays that God will not hold their sin against them (verse 60) mirroring Jesus’ forgiveness of those who crucified him in Luke 23:34, “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’”

Even in his death, Stephen is witnessing to the grace, mercy, and compassion of Jesus.

Love for, and forgiveness of, enemies is one of the truest signs that Christ is indeed living his life through a disciple.

Today, ask God to fill you with his Spirit that you truly and deeply have love for those you have a hard time getting along with.

Ask God to soften your heart towards them and for God to soften their hearts toward you so that one day you can be reconciled with them.