Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia. None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke. So they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen, saying, “We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God.” This roused the people, the elders, and the teachers of religious law. So they arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council.
Acts of the Apostles 6:8-12 NLT
I must admit that I was a bit naive when I accepted God’s call into the ministry. I thought if I loved God and loved people, everyone would love me. I was shocked to discover you can love God and love people, and some people will not love you back. Sometimes, people who are very religious cause the most problems.
God used Stephen to perform miracles and signs—the indication is sick people were being healed, and those with demonic issues were being set free. Wholeness and freedom were being released. I would think everyone would be rejoicing – but not the religious people who felt threatened by someone getting more attention than them.
They were willing to hire people to lie about Stephen so they could arrest him and eventually kill him. It is amazing that the human heart can be that wicked.
I have witnessed people “killing” people with words that question their integrity or methods. In the church world, it is not uncommon for one minister to attack another because they are from a different camp or do ministry differently. Satan must have a party when he sees this happening.
Church people can attack each other as well. Sometimes it is over really petty stuff. I know of one church that became divided because the pastor decided to allow a different person to play one of the instruments on a rotating basis with the lady who had played for years. It became a divided church over who played the instruments.
What if we chose not to be partners with the devil in bringing division? What if we chose not to be offended at someone else’s success? What if we chose to walk in love with each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt? Let’s choose to believe the best about each other.
Holy Spirit, please help me always to choose to believe the best about others. Help me to keep my heart pure with no jealousy, pride, or deception. Help me to be sensitive not to judge others.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying to you based on today’s reading.