07/28/T – Forgiveness and Faithfulness

Joshua 11:1-23; Luke 17:1-10; Psalms 84:1-4; Proverbs 20:7

NT: “He said to his disciples, “Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,” the Lord said, “you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Which one of you having a servant tending sheep or plowing will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? Instead, will he not tell him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, get ready, and serve me while I eat and drink; later you can eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did what was commanded? In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we’ve only done our duty.’”” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:1-10‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Still in the context of wise stewardship and the righteous use of resources, Jesus mentioned the certainty of offense. Offense will certainly come: people will offend you and you will offend people. It is much better to be the offended than the offender. It is better to be the one that is treated unjustly than to be the one that is treating others unjustly. Unfairness happens in life all the time. Disciples of Jesus should never be on the giving end of injustice, disrespect, unfairness, etc. And when we are on the receiving end, we do not engage in tit for tat restitution. Instead, we forgive. We don’t ignore the injustice… we don’t passively allow the injustice. Instead, we make the injustice known and then forgive it… over and over again, if necessary. Forgiveness like that requires great faith: faith that God will rectify the wrongs done to us instead of us taking our justice into our own hands. The disciples, upon hearing that Jesus was requiring of them, said, “Increase our faith.” Jesus replied to their request by giving them a lesson in faith. Even the smallest amount of faith has great potential – but the way you grow your faith is not through witnessing the miraculous, but through obedience to the mundane. Obedience to the Lord in the most mundane aspects of life will grow your faith. As you are faithful, your faith will grow. As you serve, not expecting anything extraordinary, God will do extraordinary things through you. The faith to forgive comes through forgiving. You don’t wait for the faith to forgive to come first before obeying. When you obey, the grace is there. And the more you obey and experience God’s faithfulness, the more your faith will grow. There are opportunities to get offended all around us. When we are offended, are we going to take the bait, or are we going to be obedient to our calling and forgive?

Psalms: “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of Armies. I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God. Even a sparrow finds a home, and a swallow, a nest for herself where she places her young — near your altars, Lord of Armies, my King and my God. How happy are those who reside in your house, who praise you continually. Selah” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:1-4‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

This psalm is attributed to the sons of Korah, who were Levites assigned to working in the temple. There is a good chance that this psalm was written during a time when they could not make the journey to Jerusalem to serve. In those days, the presence of God was relegated to a place. To receive God’s wisdom and direction, you had to inquire at the temple. Through Jesus, God’s temple is no longer a place. Through Christ, God now tabernacles in the hearts and lives of His faithful followers. But even now, we must be intentional in abiding with the Lord. We have to be intentional in spending time with the Lord in the secret place – praying to Him, studying His word, asking of Him, and waiting to hear His response. Do we know what it is to spend time in the Lord’s presence? Do we love the times we spend with Him? Do we desire and endeavor to abide in and with Him moment by moment, day by day? As we faithfully order our days to spend time with Him, we grow in faith to lovingly obey Him in the mundane and the miraculous.

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