Luke 17:1-5 "Jesus[a] said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It 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. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And 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.”The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
Reflection. This is pretty hard teaching! The world teaches us that if we are taken in by someone offending against us a second time, then we are the foolish person. Jesus says that if someone keeps on offending, and then repents, we must forgive them. The number of times is unimportant - in the scriptures '7' is a number used to pretty well mean 'infinity.'
How good are we at forgiving people? Thanks be that because of Jesus God does not count our iniquities against us. If He did, we could not survive (to paraphrase Pslam 130:3).
Jesus is calling us to model God’s levels of continuing grace and forgiveness. Is it any wonder that into this context the disciples cry out, 'Increase our faith.' Faith and forgiveness are closely related!
Prayer. Lord Jesus, 'Increase our faith' and help us to forgive. Amen.