God, help me to not offend others and to forgive others when I am offended.
Read Luke 17:1–10
 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.  It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.  So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.  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.”  The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  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.  “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?  Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’?  Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?  So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is Jesus’ expectation regarding forgiveness?
Today’s reading brings together sayings on different topics demonstrating the range of Jesus’ teaching. The first two topics (1–4) concentrate on how we live with one another. There will be challenges to faith, and Jesus wants to make sure that they don’t come from within the Christian community—hence the warning (3). Shortly before writing this note I was talking to someone who told me that her husband had been so frequently and deeply hurt by other Christians that he no longer attends church. This is not uncommon, but it is unacceptable. Jesus has some hard words for those who damage the faith of others by hurtful behavior or attempts to undermine their faith (2). The other side to this is the need to forgive. When someone has done something which hurts or offends us we have a choice. We can harbor resentment which will eventually turn to bitterness and damage our relationship with them and with God. The answer is to sort things out (3). It may not be easy to confront others, but it is the only way to ensure that we maintain the sort of relationships that God wants. Remembering just how much we have been forgiven, we should be ready to forgive others.
Is there anyone with whom you need to sort something out? Pray about it now and make sure you take action.
Father, You have forgiven so much. It is nothing for me to forgive.
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