Forgiveness and the Presence of Jesus
In Acts 7 we have a remarkable demonstration of forgiveness. Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel and the heart of what it means to be a Christian. Forgiveness is not something you create but rather something you give from what you’ve been given. In chapter 7 we have the story of a man named Stephen, a disciple who was killed, simply because he testified about Jesus. He did nothing wrong. After rehearsing the history of the Jewish nation, Stephen tells his audience that they are responsible for the death of Jesus. For this he is killed. As he is dying we read this in verse 60: 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep (he died). These words are very similar to the words of Jesus before He died on the cross. How can Stephen say these words? I believe it has to do with the forgiveness he had received from Jesus.
Stephen was in the presence of Jesus. He saw Jesus and he forgave. I don’t think this relationship has changed. If you’ve been forgiven, you have the ability to forgive others, even those who have significantly wronged you. Will you do it? Will you set yourself free from the bondage of unforgiveness? I hope that you will follow the example of Stephen.