“Lay it not to their charge!” I cried out to the Lord in my heart.
Unbelievable. Astonishing. Shocking really. A prayer I have read over and again for years in the Bible spoken by Stephen and similar to Jesus’ prayer. But never in a million years did I think I would use that prayer myself. What’s so unbelievable?
I have been enormously sensitive my whole life. When I get hurt, I really get hurt. It doesn’t take much for someone’s words or actions to hurt me. Even a look on their face can break my heart if I’m not careful. So who was I praying to the Lord for that day? EVERY SINGLE PERSON THROUGHOUT MY ENTIRE LIFE WHO HAS HURT ME IN ANY WAY. Especially those in recent years who identify as Christians who have rejected me, betrayed me, broken promises, turned their backs on me, seen my needs and turned the other way, and on and on. I was praying that the Lord would have mercy on them. That He would not judge them. That He would forgive them. That they would be free.
The Lord makes clear in His Word vengeance against those who hurt us is SIN, and I know not to hold vengeance. But the Lord has so transformed my heart that not only do I not want vengeance. I want those who hurt me to be in the loving fellowship of Jesus forever, to be loved, forgiven, drawn to Jesus, provided for, saved, healed, made whole, redeemed, cared for, comforted, and BLESSED! This, friend, is astonishing. The change in my heart is only by the grace of Jesus! For the glory of Jesus! HE has done this work in me. I never could have done it myself!
But this isn’t about me, you who are reading this now. It’s about you! It’s about where you stand when it comes to those who hurt you. Have you chosen the way of Christ? The way of love? Of mercy and forgiveness? Of caring about the eternity of these people? About wanting them to have a forever beautiful relationship with the Lord?
Can you yourself say about those who have hurt you, “Lay it not to their charge”?
Ask the Lord to do in your heart the work He continues to do in mine. Choose the way of Christ. And cry out to the Lord, “Lay it not to their charge! AMEN!”
Oh Father, how astonishing is your work in me. You are gloriously amazing! All these years, and I could not see the work you have been doing in me with such long suffering, with such awesome mercy, with such indescribable grace. Continue your work in me, dear Lord, I have such a long way still to go. And do the work in my readers, dear Father. Change their hearts, too. Transform them as you are transforming me. Make us more and more like you, Lord. Help us to grow in your image and walk in your ways. Help us to walk in your love, for the glory of you, sweet Jesus. AMEN!
“Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:60 (prayed by Stephen before his death from being stoned). Some versions say, “do not hold this sin against them.”
“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”” Luke 23:34 (Jesus praying to the Father before His death and resurrection).
““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” Matthew 5:43-44