Thursday, March 26
Today’s Reading: Luke 17:1-19
Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
Jesus begins here with the theme of responsibility – this time for those who are young and innocent. There are grave penalties ahead for one who knowingly leads another person astray by his or her actions, causing that person to sin. We lead by example, but if our example is faulty, we are the cause for another to stray.
We are also responsible to one another. Jesus says, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” No matter how many times he sins against you, if he says, “I’m sorry,” we must forgive. I don’t know about you, but it’s really hard putting these words into practice. After a while we say, “Don’t you get it yet, that your actions are wrong? When are you going to learn?” And we want to withhold our forgiveness from “repeat offenders.”
Whoa. Isn’t that what we are before God – repeat offenders? We expect God to forgive what we are unwilling to do ourselves. Ouch. Praise God for sending Jesus as our savior, the means for our forgiveness by his sacrifice on the cross.
The disciples realized that faith is key to being able to forgive others, and that even they, the closest companions to Jesus, needed more faith to be able to do what Jesus asks. I am blessed to know that God forgives me, and as I grow to trust in God’s forgiveness, God will enable me to forgive another for the umpteenth time for committing the same wrong. It’s not about me but about what God has done for me that counts, so let me extend to another the same grace that God has given me in the cross of Jesus Christ.
Dear God, bring to my heart someone whom I have chosen not to forgive. I pray for greater faith so that I can forgive. I want to let go of whatever pain their actions have caused me, for I know I cause you sorrow by the wrong things I do. You sent Jesus at great cost, so that he would be the means for me to live a new and abundant life, unhampered by my past wrongs. Help me, Lord, to forgive as you have forgiven me. I love you, Lord. Amen.