1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 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. 3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 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.” 5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 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. 7 “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’? 8 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’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 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.’ ” 11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him–and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
1. Give Up Your Right to Self
Things that make us stumble will come. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. When we first become a Christian we are all excited and tempted to think that there will be no more problems from this point forward, especially when it comes to relationships with people in the church. However, we still hurt each other, even as Christians. The big difference is that Jesus is teaching us how to deal with those in a healthy and productive way.
Jesus goal is for the people hearing his words to reflect on their own hearts and lives rather than pointing fingers and blaming others for the hardship in our lives and relationships.
In verse 2 Jesus uses very strong language. This is because Jesus has zero tolerance when it comes to hurting his children and their faith. We can forget and downplay the effect that our actions and words have on the faith and well-being of others. Jesus wants me to be an encouragement for others and their faith and not a stumbling block.
We live in a very individualistic society but that is in contradiction to close, encouraging and faith-building relationships.
1 Corinthians 6:7
The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
It’s not about me, it’s about ‘we’!
2. Give Up Your Right to Hold On
Deal with the issues but with the goal of forgiveness and reconciliation and NOT revenge or pay-back. With Jesus, there is an abundance of forgiveness that allows us to forgive others in the same way.
The Greek word used to forgive is aphiémi. It means to send away, let go or release. Thanks to Jesus I’m free to forgive. What are things that I need to let go and forgive?
Let’s help one another but move on in forgiveness and grace! There is a spiritual war raging for lost souls. A lack of forgiveness will create distance and will cause the best team to fall apart.
3. Faithful & Grateful
It’s not just about how much faith I have but also what I put my faith in.
“The weakest faith gets the same strong Christ as does the strongest faith.” — Sinclair B. Ferguson
My God is strong even when my faith is weak.
I’m just a grateful, faithful, obedient servant for the best master imaginable. As such, I don’t have a right to feel entitled.
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