by Doug Bratcher
I punished one of my children the other day. The act of shoving a sibling might not seem very extreme, but it was really the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” for this child that week. Earlier, Kasey and I had conversations about how this child’s behaviors were getting out of hand and that they were on the precipice of disaster. This literally pushed us over the edge and the resulting punishment made them apoplectic, sad, frustrated, and unconsolable.
When they finally found the courage to insinuate that the punishment didn’t fit the crime I was ready to pounce. Luckly, for the child, Kasey intervened by laying out all that had happened over the last few days and how this punishment wasn’t just for the one small mistake, but for the pattern that was developing. The child was on a course that needed to be corrected and the winds had just changed!
As we look at our scripture, we see Stephen addressing the Sanhedren. In boldness he, like Kasey to our child, pointed them back through the Old Testament – things they already knew very well, but did not understand the consequences of. From Abraham to the coming of the Messiah Stephen points to a history where the people, Sanhedren included, “always resist the Holy Spirit!”
Unfortunately, I see myself in the position of my child and the Sanhedren all too often. I ignore all the signs and truths that the Holy Spirit has laid before me and wallow in things like self pity, guilt, and anger. Often I have to be at the bottom before I can trace back and see what has happened to lead me to where I am and that I need to be corrected so drastically. Stephen and the Sanhedren had the same truths in front of them. Stephen’s course helped change the world. When faced with the truth of their failure the Sanhedren doubled down and killed a righteous man. In all our lives we must look at where we are now, how we arrived there, and consider if we are in need of turning back to the truth. The good news is that when we turn back to the truth it sets us free (John 8:31-32).