So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 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.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6 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 NIV
I was researching when the disciples asked for their faith to be increased and I found this passage in Luke 17. The NIV text separated the request into its own paragraph as I have it listed above. Questions in my mind arose as I contemplated this passage.
Are the requests in verse 5 and the response in verse 6 stand alone? Or does the conversation continue from verse 4 where Jesus commands them to forgive?
It is clear that Jesus gives a picture of increased faith. The same image of mustard seed faith is used in Matthew 17 when the disciples were unable to free a demon possessed man. Here Jesus rebuked them for so little faith in which they did not understand the authority that comes with faith in Jesus.
Having said all of that…I want to encourage you today to connect verse 5 with verse 4. You only need a little mustard seed faith to forgive.
All of us have been hurt, been treated unjustly, been lied to, or been offended in some way. An unaddressed offense (refusal to forgive) becomes an infected splinter in our soul. The unforgiveness leads to bitterness, hardening of your heart, and a weight to your soul.
In my counseling, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the expression, “There is NO WAY, I can forgive that person”! I am praying for their faith and hope to increase to believe that they can forgive.
Is there a situation that comes to your mind of a hurt that feels so bad in which you are unable to forgive?
Increased faith and hope begin as a small seed which is spoken. Say it and then move toward your words. “Today, I ask Lord that you increase my faith and hope to be able to forgive (name the person or event).” That is all I am asking for you to do today. Just plant the faith-forgiveness seed with your words and give God time to let forgiveness begin to grow. This is a big challenge into uncharted feelings and territory.
Faith lives on the open sea. Peter walked on the water and so can you. Follow the voice of Jesus to come. In verse 4, He said we must forgive. Follow His loving commands to experience the full and meaningful life God gives to His children.
Take the Faith-Forgiveness seed today and start planting it in your life.
Blessings Love y’all
Another message that makes me stop and think about forgiveness, and how it is tied to our faith. Lord…give me a forgiving heart.