Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! 2It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. 4And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.”
If you have ever said things you wish you had not said, done things that you wish you could take back, or did not act for justice when you should have, you know the agony it can create in your heart. In all honesty, I don’t know which pain is greater – the pain we inflict on others or the pain we receive from others. Both, are difficult. The pain can cause disruption in your sleep, the inability to function in your days, and the feelings of a deep depression.
Jesus tells us today: “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come…” (Luke 17:1) Jesus is telling us that we are not perfect! We are going to mess up!
This text that we have today is the heart of the Gospel. It is the reason Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem. It is and will be the ONLY thing that will free you!
Forgiveness, and the ability to forgive others is the hardest thing to do for us humans. When we are hurt by others, we often want revenge. We want them to hurt like we do. And, if we let it…that pain can destroy us.
Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection give us the means to receive God’s amazing grace – freeing us from our wrongdoings – things we have said and done or not done, and giving us hope for peace in our hearts.
Every single one of us have something to repent for something we have said or done. Every single one of us are hurting in some capacity. Saying, “I’m sorry” is the cure to that pain! And, then we are commanded: “And, if there is repentance, you must forgive!” (Luke 17:3)
Who might you need to forgive today? How might could you approach that person and ask for forgiveness on your side?
Let us pray…Gracious God, what would this world be like if Your Son, Jesus Christ did come to hang on a cross for our forgiveness? Where would we be? Help us, Lord, to not only ask for forgiveness from you, but to forgive others who have asked for forgiveness from us. Give us the strength and open our hearts to Your amazing grace. Lord, we love you so much. Amen.