“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!'” (Luke 17:5 NIV)
Why would the apostles insist in having Jesus increase their faith? What prompted such a request?
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4 NIV)
Jesus was encouraging his disciples to forgive at all times. This was what triggered them to insist in having their faith increased!
Why is it so hard to forgive? Why do we long for retaliation? Why do we have an inner wish to turn those who hurt us into squirming tiny worms?
To tell you the truth, vengeance is never satisfactory. Once obtained, it leaves you empty and dissatisfied.
Why pursue it then? Why make ourselves miserable by continuing our mutterings and refusing to forgive? Are we truly living in God’s will that way?
Forgiveness, however, is only possible if we abide in Jesus! “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col 3:13 NIV)
We can either live a miserable life of unforgiveness or live in Christ and leave our unforgiveness in His hands! Only then will forgiveness flow from our hearts, and only then will we be free to experience real living and real peace. It’s inevitable! If Jesus lives in our heart, we can’t help but forgive!
We were climbing Mount Vesuvius in Italy, an active volcano near the Bay of Naples in southern Italy. It is best renowned for its destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D. Once at the top, my parents and I could view the 1,000 ft. deep and 2,000 ft wide crater that was formed by its eruption in 1944. The landscape was surreal. It was almost as if we were on planet Mars, except that there were vapours escaping through numerous steam vents.
The steep climb in the glaring southern sun left my mother very tired. A guide noticed her fatigue and encouraged her to sit down on one of the numerous rocks. She gladly accepted his help. For some reason he stayed nearby, continuing to keep an eye on her.
All of a sudden she was surrounded by steam from one of the nearby steam vents and she had no choice but to jump up and put some distance from her and the rock-the same one that just moments before had brought her solace.
Now she had a decision to make. She could either slap the guide for his insensitive approach, call him a “moron” and mutter something about irresponsible Italian guides, or she could laugh at the practical joke. Coming from a family of practical jokesters, she graciously opted for the later option. She ended up having a terrific day filled with laughter! However that day could have been filled with gloom and doom if she had decided to remain in the unforgiveness zone.
We have that same choice to make on a daily basis!
May our sense of humour become better developed than our urge for vengeance! That is my wish for all of us.
Are you tired? I know of a great place to sit down for a few moments. Would you like to follow me?
(To view the entire “You of Little Faith” devotional series, please click here.)