60 “He fell to his knees, shouting, ‘Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!’ And with that, he died.”
Acts 7:60 (New Living Translation)
Ever heard someone use this line: “Watch out! You’re asking for it!”
Have you used it? It means trouble is about to break loose.
Truth is, we’re all asking for it, good and bad, all the time. Most all our asks (besides asking for trouble) center around these pairs:
health and prosperity healing and blessing food and drink favor and success safety and rescue vacation and rest jobs and money courage and strength patience and peace wisdom and understanding direction and deliverance time and forgiveness
(In basketball we ask for a lot of things too, especially foul calls, explanations, substitutes and timeouts.)
Which ones above define your typical asks? How many center around others vs. you?
Today’s Scripture defines an epic ask, one rarely expressed: a request for mercy and grace to be applied to others, specifically enemies.
Stephen, God’s spirited servant and Christ’s royal ambassador, was being unjustly stoned to death. In the midst of his pummeling, these are his only recorded words: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60 NIV).
It is one thing to ask for mercy for oneself or a friend. It is completely another to ask that mercy/grace/forgiveness be extended to an offender, chiefly yours.
To ask for mercy for your enemy is to imitate Christ. It is to become fully selfless and most alive. It is to experience real love and divine power.
Like Stephen, let’s be liberated to ask for mercy, grace and forgiveness. Let’s include this in our daily communications with God and others, and dare to even ask this for enemies.
Stephen’s ask helped fuel the greatest life-bringing movement in the history of the world. Our asks like this will too.
Reflect: What kinds of things are you good at asking for? For whose benefit do you typically ask?
In your people-circle, who needs your prayer for God’s mercy right now? And who in your circle needs a merciful, forgiving touch that you might surprisingly bring?
A prayer to consider: LORD, O, how I see You in Stephen. Thank You for not treating me as my sins deserve (Psalm 103:10).
Help me to extend mercy and grace toward others too, for Your glory and my growth and joy in You. Amen.