We all have things in our past that haunt us – friends we’ve lost, cruel things we have said, inexcusable things we have done. St. Paul knew this feeling, the feeling of having squandered something that cannot be restored, the feeling of having done something that can not be taken back.
In the Book of Acts, Stephen is “full of grace and power,” and does “great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). But the people believe that Stephen is blaspheming when he preaches about Jesus and in their rage they drag Stephen outside of the city and begin to stone him. Paul is present at this terrible moment and approves of Stephen’s murder. Paul later says, “I myself was standing by, approving and keeping the coats of those who killed him” (Acts 22: 20).
In the same way that memories of our worst selves stick with us, the shameful moment of Stephen’s murder must have flashed before Paul’s eyes many times. Read more >>