Acts 7:60 – Then he (Stephen) fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this against them.”
As the number of disciples was increasing in the early church it became too much for the original twelve to take care of. They had too many responsibilities and there were widows being neglecting in food distribution. The twelve decided it would be best to delegate some of the responsibility. They told the people to pick seven men to take care of these extra needs.
Out of all of the people, Stephen was chosen as one of the seven. He was described as a man ‘full of faith and the Holy Spirit.’ In Acts 6:8 we read that Stephen did great wonders and miraculous signs. Stephen was a man who stood out among the believers because of the fruit his life produced.
Now, when Stephen was opposed and persecuted, he never faltered in his stand. In fact, this verse (Acts 7:60) reflects his heart towards the people. He Loved them and wanted to see all of them come to God. These men are literally killing him and he is forgiving them.
God has called us to Love Him and to Love people. Once you see all that God has done for you and the Love He shows you, Loving Him becomes easy, but people are a different story. People can be harsh and mean, but we are to Love them anyway. That is the true test of Loving your neighbor: Loving them while they are persecuting you. Do you Love them that much?