“As the rocks rained down, Stephen prayed, “Master Jesus, take my life.” Then he knelt down, praying loud enough for everyone to hear, “Master, don’t blame them for this sin”—his last words. Then he died.” Acts 7:59-60
Just yesterday, we were kneeling by the Christ child in his manger in awe of this miracle. Today we are back to reality—the story of Stephen, a follower of the Savior Jesus, who is being stoned for being a follower of Christ. The amazing part of this story is his last words of forgiveness. With barely any breath left in his lungs, he asks God not to blame those who are throwing stones at him.
Throughout the holidays, families look forward to gathering to celebrate. However, sometimes old family riffs resurface and ruin the day. The Spirit of Christmas isn’t a salve to heal bad feelings that have been building for years.
The good news is that it is never too late to forgive and forget—to start again. If forgiveness seems impossible, it may be time to start by forgiving yourself for your part in creating the bad feelings and begin to believe you want to forgive and forget.
Perhaps like Stephen, you’ll then be able to say, “Master, don’t blame them for this sin….”
Dear Lord, the “i” in the word “sin reminds me that I, too, am a sinful creature and need to reconcile my sinful ways. Amen.