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This Sin

This Sin

17 October 2009

Scripture:

Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. (Acts 6:5, 8 NLT)

59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died. (Acts 7:59-60 NLT)

Stephen was such a good guy! Because he was full of faith and the Holy Spirit, he was chosen as one of the original seven administrator-overseers for the church. Because he was full of God’s grace and power, he performed amazing signs and miracles among the people. Because of the jealousy of rigid, small-minded religious people, he was quasi-legally murdered by a religious mob. What a waste! What a tragedy!

And then because he was such a Christ-like man, he asked Jesus to receive his spirit in death, just as Jesus had asked his Father to receive his spirit in death. And just as Jesus had prayed that his murderers not be charged with their crime, Stephen died praying that the stone-throwing mob not be held guilty for the sin they were committing as they killed him.

Where’s the satisfaction, where’s the justice in “Lord, Don’t charge them with this sin!” Rambo would have pulled the pin on his one remaining grenade and thrown it into the mob and they would have died with him. Sort of Samson-like.

I’ve been a Christ-follower a long time. I’m serious about my faith. But all it takes is one story like this to remind me how far I have to go and how utterly dependent I am on God’s Amazing Grace.

Prayer:

Father, Please forgive me for the pettiness that makes me keep track and makes me want you to keep track of all the hurtful things people do. Is it possible you could help me get to the place where instead of being angry or hurt or offended and then eventually forgiving, I could just say, “Father, don’t bother to put this one on the books. They don’t realize what they’re doing. Let’s let it go.” Could I get there? Help me. Please. Amen.

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