Luke 17:1-6 Power In Forgiveness
Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur…Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to your seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.”
There are certain human tendencies we all share in common. They come to us naturally. And while most are very good, some are not so good. For example: we protect our own; we protect our “skin”; we run from dangerous situations; we blame others; we avoid conflict; we use people for personal gain, etc.
“Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face” (Psalm 24:6). Really? Is this true?
If I long to see God’s face, then I must increase my faith.
It’s never an easy thing to forgive. It’s not even easy to forgive someone once. It’s unimaginable to forgive someone seven times! There’s really only one explanation for this: we don’t go to confession enough. If we did, we would be more understanding…and more forgiving.
If your brother wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, “I am sorry,” you should forgive him.
Not too long ago, an individual stopped me in the mall and ask me if I would hear his confession. I said, “Of course!”
He was taken aback.
I think he was expecting me to say “No!” or something like, “I can’t do it right now”, or “Why don’t you stop by the Church later on today.” By the look on his face, I think he had wished I had said no, for after I agreed to hear his confession, he began to give me every possible excuse why he shouldn’t go to confession. His excuses were interesting, very interesting, but definitely not uncommon.
I’m not sure if I should be here. Well, you are here. You made it. Actually, maybe you were driven to it. But no matter how you got here, you are now standing in front of me. If there is one place in the world that you should never feel guilty of going to, it is Confession. You can’t go wrong. Even if you have no sins to confess, you can’t make a mistake by going to confession.
I don’t feel sorry for my sins. What to do? Confess your lack of remorse. Even that can be forgiven.
But maybe I’m using God! You are! Of course you are! We all are! Who do you think you are? We are all selfish. We all use God. And He knows it! We all take advantage of his love, his generosity, his wealth, his power, his mercy and compassion. We all pray for victory. We all pray for God’s strength. What we don’t pray for is to do His Will. We don’t! And God knows that. And it doesn’t change a thing.
God knows He is the biggest sucker in the world! He knows we will go right back to sinning and come right back to ask for forgiveness. But what we do doesn’t change who He is.
Do I honestly think that God is going to change because of me, because of what I do, because of the sins I commit? He’s not going to stop being the King of Love because I take advantage of His love. He won’t allow me to define Him. He’s God, which means, He is Who He Is, regardless of who I am.
How different God is to all my friends. When my friends hurt me they end up changing me. When I hurt a friend, I end up changing them. I wipe the smile off their face. I ruin their day. I change them for good; that is, for worse.
I make their heart more like mine. I make them become more like me. They begin to strike back at others. They pick fights. They say and do what I say and do. How easy it is to change someone!
It’s not uncommon for children to turn dark, negative and rebellious when their parent’s divorce. It’s not uncommon for them to no longer believe in love or in anything that is good.
How easy it is for people to influence and change who we are. What is the remedy? How can we avoid this? Love as I love you. Forgive as I forgive you.
We must love as the Lord loves and forgive as the Lord forgives, for every time we forgive, we refuse to be mastered by the sinner and changed by the sin. We refuse to be like the one we forgive.
But every time we forgive someone, we make them more like us; actually, more like Him.
People will fail us. So let’s not give them so much influence in our lives. Only the Lord has earned the right to be loved above all things, for He is the only One who has the power to change us to who we were always meant to be.