Mark 11:25-26 – And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Yesterday I began my writing to you on the subject of forgiveness by saying that nothing you do in this life will require more faith from you than the act of forgiveness. Take a moment at read the Luke 17 passage from our Manna for Today. Jesus was speaking very pointedly about what one’s response should be if his brother offends him. It’s quite simple to understand. The offender is to be told of the offense, and the offender is to be forgiven. Because Jesus said in this passage that “if he repent, forgive him,” some have taught that if he doesn’t repent, you don’t need to forgive. My friend, this is patently untrue. The Word of God is clear on that matter, and it is set forth in our Text for Today. Read it again, and allow it to become a settled truth in your heart and mind that IF you expect to be forgiven, you MUST forgive. But then Jesus markedly increased the weight of that burden. What if the brother trespasses against you SEVEN times in the day? The answer never changes; you MUST forgive him. Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:22 when Jesus was asked how many times one must forgive. His response was astounding. 70 x 7. I’m not so sure the actual number is important as it is to understand that the believer must NEVER stop forgiving.
That point being clearly made, I want to draw your attention to the response of the apostles at the words of Jesus. Look closely at their response in Luke 17:5. They said, “Increase our faith.” They understood what it seems many Christians do not. Forgiveness is an act of obedient faith, nothing more, nothing less. Knowing that, the apostles (His disciples) knew full well that living a life of forgiveness would demand more of their faith than anything else the Lord commanded.
When Jesus sent out His disciples, the twelve and the seventy, two by two, telling them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils, their response was simple obedience. But once again I ask you to consider their response when He told them to live a life of forgiveness, regardless of what came their way or how often. When Jesus gave that order, their response was a sobering one. I remind you once again of their words. “Increase our faith.” What will we say to that?
Manna for Today – Mark 11:22-27; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 86:6; Matthew 6:12-15; Luke 6:37; Luke 17:1-10; Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2; 1 John 5:14; Matthew 18:22