How hard is it for you to forgive? Sounds like a loaded question doesn’t it?
When we look at forgiveness from a strictly personal, human perspective it can seem almost impossible to forgive some and easy to forgive others. It all depends on how deeply we have been hurt or wronged.
Forgiveness seems to be based on our feelings and we often don’t want to take responsibility for letting them go.
In this morning’s reading Jesus was teaching on this very thing.
“Jesus said to his disciples:
There will always be something that causes people to sin. But anyone who causes them to sin is in for trouble. A person who causes even one of my little followers to sin 2 would be better off thrown into the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their neck. 3 So be careful what you do.
Correct any followers of mine who sin, and forgive the ones who say they are sorry. 4 Even if one of them mistreats you seven times in one day and says, “I am sorry,” you should still forgive that person.
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Make our faith stronger!”
6 Jesus replied:
If you had faith no bigger than a tiny mustard seed, you could tell this mulberry tree to pull itself up, roots and all, and to plant itself in the ocean. And it would!
7 If your servant comes in from plowing or from taking care of the sheep, would you say, “Welcome! Come on in and have something to eat”? 8 No, you wouldn’t say that. You would say, “Fix me something to eat. Get ready to serve me, so I can have my meal. Then later on you can eat and drink.” 9 Servants don’t deserve special thanks for doing what they are supposed to do. 10 And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.”
Luke 17:1-10 CEV
Jesus talked to his disciples about forgiveness. They tried to make it a “faith” issue. Jesus quickly refuted that and told them they didn’t need more faith – even a small amount of faith was sufficient to make earth moving changes.
What he did talk to them about was their obedience. Verses 1 through 5 don’t seem to tie together with verses 6 through 10 but read it again and you will see the correlation. Jesus starts in verse 6 telling them their faith is sufficient and then immediately goes into a teaching on obedience, the obedience of a servant.
The disciples, servants of Jesus, are being challenged to obey what the Master has said. Forgive!
Take forgiveness out of the realm of feelings and place it where it belongs – it is an act of obedience! We don’t need to struggle with doing something we are commanded to do. Just obey!
Obey because it’s what the Father has instructed us to do. Obey and know that you have done your duty as a servant of the most high God.