“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 17:3-6
Share the faith you have in Christ with the world. Let your light shine so the others may see it. Be a pointer and a beacon showing people the way to Christ, particularly through the way that you live.
In the text, 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. However, once you have brought it to his attention, should he repent of his offense, then forgive him. Don’t hold a grudge. Be quick to forgive those who wrong you.
This is the responsibility of the Christian. Notwithstanding this, it is difficult to forgive someone who has offended you over and over again. As humans, we are not generous with our forgiveness. It is easier for us to seek and dispense revenge. It is difficult to forgive someone who has consistently done you harm. Yes, it is so easy to cut a person off rather than forgive. Still, Jesus commands us to swallow our pride and forgive over and over again.
This calls for faith, a faith that can only come from God. This kind of faith is not like that, which the world shares. The people of the world express faith in the environment, the people and the things around them. People have faith that something favorable will take place, for example, investments for the future will be sufficient to take care of retirement needs.
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.
However, Christian faith is different. The Christian faith, which is a gift from God, is centered in Jesus Christ. We believe that God’s promise in Christ will be fulfilled.
Our sinful nature burdens us with pride and selfishness. As a result, we seek revenge when forgiveness is our best and only option.
Yet, in order for us, Christians or non-Christians, to cope and deal with the vicissitudes of life, we need to have that faith, which can only come from God. That is the faith that Jesus speaks of in the text. 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.
That is why Jesus came into the world – to help us. He keeps us focused and gives us that faith that moves mountains.
The disciples knew this. Therefore, when Jesus expressed his expectations to them, they responded, “Lord, increase our faith!”
He gives and strengthens our faith and allows us to forgive when we prefer not to. Without Jesus giving us the faith, we would not live accordingly to his teaching. Therefore, we should seek his intervention, his guidance and his strength so that we can be more forgiving.
Faith is something we Christians should pray for daily. Without God’s spirit working in us, forgiveness becomes a burden.
I would dare say without God in the mix, it is impossible. By relying upon Christ and seeking his guidance, we can live according to his commands. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.