Following on from last week, we see through the life of Stephen, another characteristic God values in those He uses.
We see here how Stephen lays into the priests and instead of defending himself, he shows them how crooked they are and how crooked their forefathers were. As could be expected, they did not like this, and drags him outside and started stoning him. As he is dying, and this is the important bit that shows us much of his character, he still finds time to pray that God would forgive his killers.
Jesus made it clear how important forgiveness is when he said this in Matthew 6:
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
That is real easy to understand, no grey areas, no chance to read between the lines or misinterpret. Also, neither is it just a suggestion, but it is a cold hard fact, that if we don’t forgive, we cannot expect forgiveness.
This is why God could use Stephen, the guy who started out as one of the chosen to wait on tables. The one who now were able forgive his murderers. His slate was clean, he lived in forgiveness and he showed forgiveness. He was useable.
I have to stand back and look at myself in the mirror, and ask the question ” Where is there un-forgivenes in my life”, for if I want to be really used by God, my slate too needs to be clean.