Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. – Acts 7:60 NIV
When someone wrongs me, I am instructed to forgive them. Forgiveness is important for my own spiritual health and relationship with God. So I find it interesting here, as well as Jesus example on the cross, that Stephen was not forgiving those who stoned him; he was asking God to forgive them. Ultimately their sin is against God (Psalm 51:4) and it is to him that Stephen’s accusers and executioners will have to answer. Stephen is so forgiving that he asks God to not hold them accountable for their actions. His seeking forgiveness is actually an expression of love for those putting him to death. Such a wonderful example he sets for the rest of us.