Have you needed to forgive someone and not wanted to? Did this person hurt you so badly that you felt forgiveness was going “above and beyond the call of duty?” I know I have!
I hate to admit it but there have been a few occasions in my life when someone hurt me badly enough that I wished bad things would happen to them–sort of a cosmic pay-back for hurting me.
I’m like, “God you know they did me wrong! How about you send a little bolt of lightning down on them right now?” Actually, I’m glad God doesn’t carry out His judgement that way, or I would have been struck more than a couple times myself–since I’m sure I’ve done stupid things that hurt others as well. The important thing is how we handle these situations when we are hurt.
Jesus was all too familiar with the world in which he was despised and rejected by the very people he was trying so hard to save. Jesus knew the disciples would face some of the same difficulties. Luke records Jesus’ instructions to the disciples regarding the danger of sin, the need for repentance, and the importance of forgiveness.
Luke 17:1-10 (NASB)
1 He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!
2 “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.
3 “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
4 “And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.
7 “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’?
8 “But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’?
9 “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?
10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”
There are four important lessons here:
- It is inevitable that we will sin—we live in a fallen world.
- We should be on guard and be prepared to help our brothers and sisters who stumble. Our approach should be to handle the situation privately, if the person repents, then forgive.
- People will continue to sin and we are commanded to continue to forgive when they repent.
- Forgiving the sinner who repents is not a matter of faith—but a command—it is a requirement.
Forgiving the sinner who repents is what Jesus has called (commanded) us to do. It is our base requirement, our duty as servants of God. It is not a matter of faith, nor is it above and beyond the call of duty of one of Jesus’ disciples.
Join the Conversation!
As always questions and comments are welcome. Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive? What is holding you back?
Category: Skills | Conflict Management