So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you! Luke 17: 3-6 (NLT)
Mustard seed faith has been largely misunderstood by many believers as a way to get stuff done. In reality it is more a requirement for living – something like breathing.
Jesus was introducing the disciples to the art of forgiveness; that part of human interaction for which there is no substitute…and no peace without practicing! He posed the incredible scene of a fellow believer who cannot get it right. Seven times there is an offense; seven times there is a call to repent; seven times there must be forgiveness.
The disciples, upon hearing this cried-out…Lord…we don’t have strong-enough faith for this kind of living! Jesus’ answer is classic…Yes you do…it’s like a tiny mustard seed of obedience; if you will obey my command at all, it must start with your will to forgive brothers. You can do this!
Beloved, this is Christianity-101; forgiveness is the way you became a Christian.
Christ forgave you before you knew you needed forgiving; he then died for you to make it real. He then offered it for you to receive freely (grace). And he then empowered you with that faith to forgive others, just as you have been forgiven.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:3 (NLT)
The world in which we live is largely on the lookout for offenses in order to retaliate in kind – read the riot act – punish the offender. But disciples of Jesus Christ live differently than that (or should).
For You, Today…
Your assignment (from above) is to find ways to forgive, even when common sense and the rest of the world say strike back!
That will never be easy; but then, neither was the cross. It’s a rocky road out there…step lively today!