Act 7:60 And kneeling down, he cried with a loud voice, Lord, do not lay this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
In this verse, the Lord is teaching us the right attitude to people who troubles us. To retaliate is the expected reaction of man; to pay back evil for evil – all at once.
We may not retaliate overtly, but oftentimes we fight back with our body language and in our minds. Cold shoulder is what we give them, together with a massive dose of evil thoughts. In our minds, murder is going on.
It requires a deep sense of maturity to entrust our offended heart to the Lord and let Him punish our offenders. And so we claim the verse “vengeance is mine, says the Lord”. We find comfort with the assurance that it is the Lord who will pay back the evil done to us.
But the reaction of Stephen to those who were stoning him to death was more divine . He did not ask the Lord to punish them. Instead he prayed that “ the Lord do not lay this sin in their charge”. This is the kind of spiritually all of us must aspire – a true forgiving spirit. A spirit that pities the wrongdoer. A spirit that understands the action of evil man as a natural behavior owing to their depraved nature.
Stephen pitied his offenders because he perfectly understood that they are being drowned in the sea of destruction. He wished that his oppressors might also be delivered from their sins, just like himself. He perfectly understood that he was only a recipient of grace and would also be on the same boat, had not the Lord took pity on him.