The problem is that Jesus requires both.
In Luke 17, Jesus taught:
“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.”
Seven times? In one day? I often struggle to forgive the person who offends me the first time. By the seventh time, I’m not interested in hearing someone even apologize, much less offer forgiveness in return.
The apostles struggled with this idea, too. That’s why we find that their response is, “Increase our faith!”
It takes a lot of faith to forgive those who hurt us, especially when the same person habitually offends, abuses, or sins against us. As the original followers of Jesus discovered, it takes more than human willpower; it takes faith in Christ.
The good news, according to Jesus, is that forgiveness does not take a lot of faith, just a little.
When I find myself thinking, “I don’t want to deal with that person…” these verses remind me, “You just need a little faith. Depend on God; he can get you through this.”
If you see mountains blocking your path today, remember that faith moves mountains, but faith requires forgiveness. These two spiritual values are inseparable partners, working together to make us more like our Lord Jesus.
Faith requires forgiveness.
Dillon Burroughs is the author or co-author of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of the New Testament in 2011 at HolyWritProject.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook.com/readdB or readdB.com.