This morning, I was reading Acts 7 where Stephen reminded a group of religious leaders of their abandoned history. The actions of Stephen took courage, especially when the existing religious system in his day also controlled the cultural power base. In some faith circles the same thing is present today. We have a lot of faithful people and church movements that have forgotten their own history. These are rich histories that need to be rediscovered and revisited. Replacing these histories is a form of religious activity that has become an unintended burden. The power of God has been replaced with good works and tiresome work schedules.
For those who no longer move in a visible display of the Spirit's power through signs, wonders and miracles, trying to remind them of the Spirit’s work in their own abandoned history can be dangerous. Stephen took 53 verses in Acts 7 to remind the Jewish leaders of his day of their neglected spiritual heritage. Because of that reminder they stoned Stephen to death. While we no longer stone people to death with real stones, we can easily do it with our words or by choosing to distance ourselves from those who remind us of what we no longer believe.
Religious systems or individuals who have abandoned the very history that birthed them and now live and defend a revisionist form of their own history, can become the most upset when reminded of what they no longer believe. Stephen modeled a forgiving attitude as he was ushered into eternity under the crushing weight of stones thrown by those to whom he brought the reminder. As a result of Stephen's death the Church began to grow and expand under the persecution that followed. The Early Church stepped into a developing history that had it’s start empowered by the supernatural works of God that continued throughout the remaining pages of Acts and into our present day.
If you are one of those called to bring this kind of reminder the attitude of your heart is more important than the reminder you will bring. Examine your motives before you speak so that the message you deliver will be seasoned with mercy and grace.