My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
Acts 7:58-60 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.
One of the people Steven asked God to forgive when he was put to death was Saul. His dying words were do not hold this sin against them.
Application in my life
Perhaps this, Stephen’s selfless loving forgiveness, is the source of Saul’s opportunity. A door opened, through which Saul could enter and choose to convert from being a persecutor of Christians to stand up and be counted as a leader of the Christian movement.
God approached Saul and offered him forgiveness and a chance to change from within, change his heart mind and soul. So I think of this as an example. Why? Because Saul was a mortal enemy, and he was won over – not by combat or conflict – but by the power of God’s love and the power of God’s presence. So for us we can know that our enemies today can be won over by the power of God’s presence, love, and forgiveness. So as Steven prayed for his enemies, we should also pray for our enemies that they allow the truth to be heard and are thereby transformed by a change of heart.
Lord, a more powerful human example than Stephen, I cannot imagine. Let that be one example for me as I pray with the belief that such prayer will lead to the conversion of the strongest opponents of Christian faith, Amen