Saving Grace

Jesus commands that we swallow our pride and forgive

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 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. So watch yourselves.

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 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.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

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. – Luke 17:1-6

The faith that we Christians have is a gift from God. However, that faith is different from the faith the world often expresses.

As children, when we taxed our parents’ patience, they would look towards heaven and say, “Lord, give me faith.” They realized that only God could give them the faith they needed to deal with their children’s deviant behavior.

In our world, many express faith in the environment, the people, and the things around them. People express faith in things going the way they prefer, for example, investments for the future yielding dividends.

Science has faith that successful research will bring about greater advancements for a better world. The ill patient has faith that the diagnosis of the specialist will bring about a cure and improvement in health.

The Christian faith, which is God’s gift, is centered in Jesus Christ. We believe that God’s promise in Christ will be fulfilled.

Jesus implores us to forgive and keep on forgiving. When a brother offends you, show him his faults. Yes, you may rebuke him for his infraction. Once you have brought it to his attention, and should he repent of his offense, then forgive him.

Granted, it is difficult to forgive someone who has offended you repeatedly. Unfortunately, as humans, we are not generous with our forgiveness. For us, it is easier for us to seek and dispense revenge.

Yes, it is so easy to cut a person off than to forgive. However, Jesus commands that we swallow our pride and forgive. It does not matter that we are called to do so many times over.

To do that, we need Jesus to give us faith and to strengthen that faith. When Jesus informed the disciples of his expectation for them, they responded, “Lord, Increase our faith!”

This world in which we live is a difficult place. Therefore, in order for us to carry on daily, we need God to bless us with faith.

God’s saving faith causes us to believe in Jesus Christ and his promises through Jesus Christ.

When Jesus told the apostles what is required of them, they immediately acknowledged their weakness and deficiency of faith.

Without Jesus giving them the faith, they knew that they could never live according to his expectation. Consequently, they asked Jesus to guide and strengthen them.

This is something we should pray for daily. Without God, forgiveness is difficult for us to dispense.

I would dare say, without God in the mix, it is impossible. When we lean on Christ and rely upon him to guide us, we can live according to his commands. Amen.

  • Reverend Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone 426-9084; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.  

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