Character in Real Life - One-Minute Testimonials
TOLERANCE –A One-Minute Testimonial Announcement
Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
Contributed by Clyde C. Miller
Senior Pastor (Retired), First Christian Assembly, Cincinnati, OH
March 1, 2002
STEPHEN THE FIRST MARTYR
Stephen was a man of tolerance. He realized people were in varying stages of maturity and tried to help, but in his dealings he didn’t compromise what was right. Stephen wasn’t a priest. He wasn’t a preacher. He was a deacon or one called to “serve the tables”. He lived these qualities: He was a man “of good and attested character and repute, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3, Amplified Bible).
Because he lived in an intolerant religious community, he was called to trial for using “slanderous and abusive and blasphemous language against Moses and against God”(Acts 6:11). Of course, this was not true, but a trumped up charge. He adhered to the standard. Though Stephen was maligned by his fellow Jews for being a Christian and preaching Christ, and even though he could see that it meant his death, he did not back down. He told the truth in love. He raised the bar for all of them to see. The bar, the standard, was Jesus Christ, Who epitomized the very law they taught but did not keep.“You who received the Law as it was ordained and set in order and delivered by angels, and [yet] you did not obey it” (Acts 6:53). Truth struck their guilty but unrepentant hearts like a jolt of electricity and they “dragged him out of the city and began to stone him…”(Acts 7:58).
In the world of the carpenter and the mechanic, there is the question of “is there any give” whenparts are being put together to form a machine or a house. It is men like Jesus and Stephen who put the “give” into “forgiveness”. The last recorded words of Stephen are these: “Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]!” (Acts 7:60). His willingness to forgive their hatred and murder, places Stephen high on the register of tolerance.
[Acts 6:7 – 8:3]
This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.