“…. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when He judges you.” -James 2:13
This man, Stephen, amazes me. While being stoned and seeing the glory of God, Stephen prayed, “Lord do not hold this sin against them”- (Acts 7:60). If the prayer was just another way, “Lord grant me justice and show your power to these unlawful insensitive people”, may be God being an immensely great Father would have wiped away all those who persecuted Stephen. Among those would be Saul of Tarsus.
Forgiveness has so much power and impact, while vengeance couldn’t match up to its one-fourth.
Yes, the Lord will lift you up in front of people that put you down. He is more than faithful to prepare a feast for you in the presence of your enemies. But, the heart to see God’s mercy transform your oppressors and enemies, is much greater in His sight than a heart seeking a chance to smirk.
If not for Stephen, the revelation we all receive from the majority of the New Testament wouldn’t exist. Somewhere, deep down there is this desire in our heart, where we think the other person would realize only through bad consequences and hurtful experiences. Can we lay that down and plead for mercy? Because, that impact is eternal than what mere experiences could teach us.
I don’t ever remember the pain of giving birth to my child. But I won’t forget that I did bring the roof down. Would I still choose to have another baby? Of course! Because, that pain hasn’t scared me to a point where I think of quitting the desire for another.
How many of us quit ice-creams just because we experienced severe cold and fever? How many of us stopped having food from outside just because we were admitted with food-poisoning? How many of us stopped driving just because we had a bad accident? How many of still hold grudge knowing that its heaviness is weighing us down?
So, that’s what pain or hurtful experiences can do for a person. There is realization, but without mercy its lasting effect is temporary, and without grace the root is never stable. Whenever we comply to vengeance, as His sole authority; we are choosing nothing more than love.