May 4

Acts 7:55-60

“But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him…” vss. 57-58a

The crowd didn’t care what Stephen had to say, they only wanted to kill him–and so they did, and made Stephen famous as our faith’s first martyr. Unfortunately he wasn’t the last! There is within certain segments of humanity a deep aversion to kindness and truth, and whenever individuals begin to attract attention with their loving words and actions, we can be sure that the haters will not be far behind. Of course, now we don’t use stones to silence the innocent, we’ve become sophisticated and use social media. Anyone whose name becomes known for acts of decency and words of truth can expect to receive an onslaught of hateful tweets and a barrage of hurtful and slanderous accusations with no basis or substance. The attackers are intent only on the destruction of reputations and refuse to be silenced or constrained. It’s no wonder good people are reluctant to enter public service or become known beyond their communities. Stephen asked that those who stoned him be forgiven, and that continues to be the model for our response to the haters–but it’s so hard! When we see people killing with venomous words and vile threats, it arouses a deep thirst for revenge, and we are not much inclined to offer mercy. We might even question why we should even think about forgiving those who are unrepentant–perhaps they deserve justice and only justice!

Thought for the Day: Why should the unrepentant be forgiven?

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