Our scripture this morning is Luke 17:1-6.
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.
Most people are familiar with the example of the mustard seed Jesus uses to explain how even a small amount of true faith can work wonders. However, in the passage just before this, Jesus teaches about avoiding sin and giving forgiveness, an essential part of our faith. He tells the disciples they must not only avoid sin themselves, but they must also avoid causing another to sin.
This is part of our Christian example, not only to keep sin from our lives, but to live in such a way as to help others prevent sin from entering their lives. He also teaches about forgiveness for sin and that even if someone sins against us repeatedly, if they come to us in repentance, we must forgive them. This is essential and Jesus spoke about forgiving each other often. In Matthew 18:22 He teaches us “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times” when Peter asks how often we must forgive.
God knows all the times we have failed, but He has offered His forgiveness to all through Christ’s sacrifice for us. Jesus asked God to forgive those who crucified Him. We must be ready to forgive each other when asked, as we have been forgiven.
Heavenly Father, we are sorry for our sins and ask Your forgiveness. Restore us in Your love and send us to share it with all the world. Amen.