Bee had had enough. She just didn’t think it was fair. Vern was always being chosen to ride in the big black truck, with the windows down, his ears flapping in the wind. And she was left alone behind the screened porch with no one to play with. Time and time again, the little white and black dog would be left to fight off the feelings that crept in her heart and wouldn’t leave.
Vern didn’t understand why Bee would nip at him when he pounced through the door after his rides. He was happy to see his little friend, but could tell that the feelings were not mutual. After nipping him, she would typically growl at him and then retreat to her bed. No matter how hard he tried to get her to play with their favorite toy, she would turn away and sulk.
Bitterness in the heart can rot our soul, causing us to pull inward and be unwilling to be what we’re created to be. It separates us from others, but more importantly, from God. When we are consumed with hateful thoughts about others, we cannot commune with our creator.
Stephen was a servant of God. A righteous man that only wanted to please his savior. So when the religious leaders that had killed his Lord wouldn’t see their sin, filled with the Holy Spirit, Stephen implored them to try and understand. But instead, they took him out of the city and began stoning him to death.
This man had every reason to be filled with anger and hatred towards the mob. But he wasn’t. Notice his words. “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 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 7:59-60)
So why would Stephen forgive these men? Because he understood that Jesus had been willing to die for his sin so that we all would be given the power of the Holy Spirit to forgive others. A power that is still at work today. If only we would ask for it when the bitterness begins to sink inside our hearts. Thankfully, Bee forgets why she’s mad at Vern in only a couple of minutes. After a while, they can be seen playing together and enjoying each other’s company. A lesson for all of us humans in times when forgiveness seems impossible to obtain.