Shall we glean one more lesson from Stephen? Forgiveness. Stephen managed to forgive his attackers even as he was being stoned. We can't overemphasize the importance of forgiveness in the Christian life.
Look at the people Jesus forgave: the man lowered through the roof (Matthew 9:2-8), the adulterous woman (John 8:3-11), the woman who anointed his feet with oil (Luke 7:47-50), the criminal on the cross (Luke 23: 39-43), the people who crucified him (Luke 23:34), and Peter, for denying he knew Jesus (Luke 24:34 and John 21:15-19). And that's not counting the number of times Jesus talked about it - most famously when he told Peter we must forgive 70 x 7 times (Matthew 18:22) and in the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-15).
In the experience of my own life and in the lives of those with whom I pray, I find that forgiveness is key to healing. Forgiveness brings healing of our spirit and soul and it opens the pathway of healing in our bodies. Forgiveness sets us free. The more specific we can be, the better. Saying, "I forgive my sister" is not as effective as saying, "I forgive my sister for (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . . )." And the hurts of early childhood have ramifications throughout our lives if we don't forgive them.
Forgiveness is a decision, an act of the will. It is not an emotion. It does not say that what the person did to you is OK. It is making up your mind to forgive even though the person hurt you.
For reflection: Have I truly forgiven my family for the myriad of things that happened between us? Can I decide to forgive today?
Let us pray. Holy Spirit, please bring to my mind the incidents of my childhood for which I need to forgive someone. I want to be free of the pain and the hurt.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.