Read: Acts 7:54-60
Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! And when he [Stephen] had said this, he fell asleep [in death]. - Acts 7:60
Audio: Acts 7
Bible in One Year: Job 5-7; Acts 8:1-25
In Acts 6 and 7 we read the story of Stephen who was called before the Jewish council and falsely accused of blaspheming God and Moses by preaching the Gospel. After he had delivered a sermon that angered the council, he was taken out and stoned.
But even as they were stoning him, Stephen prayed for his enemies, saying, Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit! And falling on his knees, he cried out loudly, Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! (Acts 7:59,60).
I am afraid that in that situation I would have been tempted to pick up a rock and throw it back. But that is not what Stephen did. He forgave his tormentors and prayed for them, saying in essence, "Forgive them, Lord, they don't understand what they are doing."
A large majority of the time those who injure us don't understand what they are doing. They are just operating out of selfishness. Years ago someone told me something that helped me. He said that 95 percent of the time when people hurt our feelings, that was not what they intended to do.
God does not want us to have an offended heart. If we do, we will not be able to minister to others. You may think this doesn't relate to you because you don't have a pulpit ministry. But every believer has a ministry.
You may not be on a platform teaching, but you've got a ministry to your children, your spouse, your family, to God. How can we properly praise God with a wrong heart condition? It is easy for us to be offended. But according to the Bible love is not easily offended.