As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died. (Acts 7:59, 60)
We can forgive the person in the super market who rushes before us in the checkout line. We can forgive inaccurate and harmful statements against our character. We can forgive criticism and gossip. We can forgive theft, harsh words, and heated anger. Can we forgive everything?
Difficultly to forgive escalates when cruel and heinous injustices are forced upon the innocent. There are consequences for those who transgress the laws of the land and the unrepentant heart, but when genuine forgiveness is extended by an offender, we are to forgive.
The Christian is not given the option to ignore the request to forgive when forgiveness is sought no matter the depth and horror of the infraction. We do not overlook injustices, we do not withhold rescue for those in harm’s way when it is within our power to do so. And, we are to forgive those who sin against us. There is no provisional evidence to withhold forgiveness, for sins we consider deplorable and unthinkable, when forgiveness is sought.
Father, forgive me of my sins as I forgive others who have done so to me. Amen.
“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”