And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60).
To be gracious is to show mercy, kindness or forgiveness. It is also to treat people with respect and courtesy especially in the face of hostilities. The text speaks of Stephen’s last words when he was martyred for his faith. In the text we see a remarkable example of forgiveness even in the face of suffering and death. Now most of us will not come to the point of losing our lives just for what we believe. But we are still going to face situations that will demand we treat people graciously and with forgiveness.
As believers, we will be mocked, insulted, misunderstood, and treated badly by people. How do you respond to people who maltreat and abuse you? Like Stephen, we must deal with people graciously and learn to forgive. Stephen, even in the face of death asked for forgiveness for his enemies. He was a man “full of grace.” (Acts 6:8). Stephen most importantly displayed a good example of Christ who forgave when he was wrongfully murdered: “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
Be a man and woman of grace. You have been forgiven so much, so learn to forgive one another.