Intro: Have you ever struggled to forgive someone who has deeply wronged you? If we wait to feel like forgiving someone, we will wait a really long time. Our flesh does not want to forgive; it wants to blame. As believers, we don’t always understand how forgiveness and faith go together; however, we cannot truly forgive unless we use our faith and ask for God’s help. We are the most like Jesus when we forgive; by the act of forgiveness we reveal the essence and wholeness of the eternal realm to others.
In our passage today, Jesus is teaching the disciples [us] about forgiveness and faith. We place our faith in God, trust he knows the truth, and will one day right the wrong. God does not need us to hold onto anger in order to prompt his memory. This anger is poison for our souls; a poison that grieves the Holy Spirit. Nor does God need us to judge the sincerity of a person’s repentance. If someone says, “I’m sorry” we must forgive him or her. It takes Christ’s compassion and power to genuinely forgive someone; as well, it takes admitting and knowing how many sins for which Christ has forgiven us.
Therefore, forgiveness is an act of holiness. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:32). When we forgive others our hearts remain pure; the enemy has no place to plant his evil seeds of offense, bitterness, or anger. As incredible as it sounds, forgiveness is God’s way of delivering us from evil.
Luke 17:1-4 (NLT) Teachings about Forgiveness and Faith
17 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! 2 It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin. 3 So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. 4 Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the many, many times you have forgiven me for sinning against you. Help me to follow your example of holiness in how I forgive others who sin against me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.