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.’”
Increase our faith.
There are times when I read the Bible and I think that someone must have been inside my head. This happened this morning reading this passage.
We are living in a time where people post their crazy all over the internet. We have global megaphones in our pockets. Shoot, even this thing that I’m writing today will be posted on multiple global platforms in multiple formats.
It’s not even going to be that good.
Anyway, the point is that we are bombarded with the internal thoughts of most of our friends. Many of us have little filter for what we put out there. As a result, you see people losing friends and relationships over what goes out on social media.
Jesus in this passage starts with a little teaching about how to deal with people in our lives. He talks about not doing something that would cause another to sin. He also talks about how if a brother or sister sins against us and repents, we should forgive them.
Then he says, we should keep forgiving them.
Every time these kinds of passages about forgiving someone or extending grace to the other comes up, we immediately push back. We start asking questions about being abused and should we just “take” it. It’s as if we don't really want to hear the reality that instead of being angry at someone we ought to forgive them and move towards them in love. At times, I think that we would rather hold a grudge, seek revenge, or embrace anger rather than love.
I know I do.
I am pretty sure the disciples here do.
Isn’t the response of the disciples interesting?
Increase our faith.
They hear this thing about reconciling relationships and dealing with conflict, which they must have needed to hear, and their response is increase our faith. Relationships are hard. They are brutal. The people in the relationships are imperfect and will hurt one another. I am not sure that any relationship stands for long without copious amounts of grace and forgiveness.
To extend the kind of mind numbing grace that Jesus talks about we need faith.
The disciples knew it. They knew that there was no way they were going to be able to love this way without more faith from Jesus.
Increase our faith.
Some have said that people who are too heavenly minded are of no earthly good. C.S. Lewis argued somewhere that the opposite is true. To be of the most earthly good we need to be more heavenly minded.
We need to increase our faith.
To love well in these days we need an increase of faith. If we are going to extend grace and mercy
Then we need to pray this other prayer that the disciples prayed, “Increase our faith.”
Audio: The Knee Jerk Devotional