Truth offends us when we are guilty.
Truth sets us free when we stand in Christ.
Jesus, as Stephen saw him, and as we affirm when we recite the Apostles’ Creed, is at God’s right hand.
Doing what? Interceding for us (Romans 8:34). He is our great High Priest. Maybe then they have a point who say that we need no other intermediaries, really, not even his humble, devoted, God-fearing mother.
His insisting on truth, going deeper into it, and sharing what he saw, only enraged Stephen’s enemies more. When we fight against the truth, we resist the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth; and if we do this consistently, the Spirit will leave us to our desires. After all, we are humans created with free will. They did as they willed to and stoned Stephen to death.
And even as I consider this thing- sinning against the Holy Spirit, the ringleader seemed to be Saul, zealous in doing wrong. Obviously, he knew no better. (He would discover later that God had let similar persecution be written into his brief!)
Stephen, standing in Christ, was free to forgive, completely unburdened of desire to retaliate. His agenda was all about winning others for Christ.
O Master help us to love your truth and to acknowledge our guilt that you will set us free.
Set us free to love others for your sake, that hurtful retaliation will have no place on our agenda.
Help us to use transform the incidences of wrong that we endure into soul winning opportunities for your glory. Amen