Joshua 9:3-10:43; Luke 16:19-17:10; Psalm 83:1-18; Proverbs 3:4
“And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day and turns to you seven times, saying “I repent,” you must forgive him.
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“The Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Television shows, movies and songs glorify revenge; glorify inflicting harm in return for an injury received (sometimes even one that is just ‘perceived’). ‘Someone hurt me, I’m going to hurt her in return even if she says that she’s sorry for what she did.’
Revenge makes for juicy, emotionally charged story plots that reinforce human nature’s view of justice, of fairness.
Where does Jesus’ teaching about repentance and forgiveness fit into those kinds of stories?
Where does Jesus’ teaching fit into my life or your life when a great wrong has been done and our human nature cries out for a chance to get even?
The Apostles’ cry in response to the Lord’s teaching about repentance and forgiveness is our cry, “Lord, increase our faith!”
They knew how impossible it was to do what Jesus was asking of them.
We know how hard it is to forgive.
Jesus knows it is impossible on our own strength.
But He gives us what we need to do what He asks of us.
He gives us more faith. Faith capable of doing the impossible!
Lord God, your ways are not our ways. Please help us to follow your ways! Increase our faith today, so that we can forgive those who have sinned against us. Help us to remember the great cost that Jesus paid on the Cross–instead of getting revenge on all those who mistreated Him, sinned against Him–He bore our sins and suffered death. But Praise to you, O God, you raised Jesus from the dead. His resurrection power bolsters our faith and enables us to do the impossible in Jesus’ name! Grant, Lord, that we forgive even as you have forgiven us. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.