Meanderings of a Minister


Lord, Do Not Hold This Sin Against Them!
September 30, 2016, 2:33 pm
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forgive

I don’t care how many times I read this scripture from Acts 7:60, I am humbled all over again.  Here is Stephen being stoned for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The very men that are stoning him are the ones on his heart and the prayer he makes before closing his eyes in death.

Then there is Jesus Himself.  He had been arrested, bound, led away, abused, tried, imprisoned, abused some more, tried again, interviewed, abused some more, starving, thirsty, beaten, sentenced to death, led up Golgotha, stripped naked, nailed to a cross, lifted up for everyone to make fun of, abused some more.  Just before He died, what did He pray?  “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

This list goes on.  How about Joseph?  His mother was promised to his father, but his great uncle traded her out for her older sister on their wedding night.  His great uncle then insisted Jacob work an additional seven years to actually get to marry the woman he loved and was supposed to originally marry.  What ensued would have made the Jerry Springer show.  Women, children being born, in fighting, dysfunction were prevalent in the house.

Joseph is given a dream of ruling over his brothers, but they weren’t going to have any of that.  It was bad enough that father was playing favorites with a coat of honor.  There was no way he was going to rule over them!  So what did they do?  They sold him.  Yes, they sold him.  Not only did they sell him, but they sold him as a slave to people heading to Egypt where they did not like his kind.  God blessed him in Potiphar’s house.  Then, Potiphar’s wife accused him of trying to seduce and sexually assault her.  He went to prison.  For 13 long years, he wasted away in a prison for something he really did not do.

After getting out of jail, he finally has some power.  He tests his brothers and then reveals himself and invites them all to come and live with him in Egypt.  They go.  Then, father dies.  The brothers come to him afraid that he will seek revenge.  How does he respond?  “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place?  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”  He forgave them!

What do all of these events have in common?  Here were men who had every reason to be angry at God and angry at others, but they chose not to.  They chose to forgive.  Not only did they choose to forgive, but they chose to pray for them and bless them and do whatever good they could do for them.  But why?  Why would they do this?

Stephen knew that Jesus was standing in Heaven and ready to receive him.  We would do well to remember that death is not the worst thing that can happen to a believer.  It is actually kind of the best, if it is God’s plan and God’s timing.

Jesus knew that the men He was dealing with did not realize Who He was.  They had no idea how they were being used by Satan, but also by God to carry out the plan God had for Him since before the foundation of the world.  We would do well to realize that many of the people who do us wrong don’t realize what they are doing because they are spiritually dead and cannot understand the things or ways of God (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Joseph chose to look at what God had done for him and not what had been done to him as the basis for the man he would be or the life he would live.  He broke the victim mentality and was an overcomer.  In our day, more of us should do just that.

So, who needs your prayer?  Who needs your forgiveness?  Who do you need to treat well even they have misused you?  Perhaps this is your chance to show them how much better life is when lived for someone and something bigger than you.  Let’s both do that.

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