Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” (Acts 6:11-14)
We live in a society where politicians, news reporters, and others habitually twist people’s words for their own gain. And videos are produced where parts of a speech are deleted, so the meaning takes on a different context. Some think it’s okay as long as it hurts an evil politician. We also make excuses for the actions of community organizers who stir up conflict saying they are rightly angry because of systematic prejudice.
But God does not excuse these actions. Proverbs 6:17-19 tells us the seven things that are detestable to God: “haughty eyes (often done with a head shake), a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
Stephen was a godly man filled with the Holy Spirit. Blasphemous words never left his mouth. These false witnesses twisted Stephen’s words. Jesus predicted the temple would be destroyed, and it was in 70 AD by the Romans. Jesus never said He would destroy it. The false witnesses conveniently deleted the part of Stephen’s speech that stated Jesus replaced the Law with love and mercy. These false witnesses, supposedly upstanding Jews, did all seven things God detests.
Christians should be careful when quoting not to not twist someone’s words or leave out important details. When we think about loving a person, we’re a lot less likely to misquote them or say and do things that God despises.
Father God, I praise You for the wisdom and promises in Your Word. Fill me with the power and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and help me love those around me so I never do anything that offends You. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen