Be on your guard so you don’t destroy faith! If other followers of Christ sin against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. And if one of them sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, “I repent,” forgive each one of them. Luke 17:3–4
We have both the responsibility and the opportunity to strengthen the faith of our brothers and sisters in Christ, as each of them does for us. One of the most obvious ways we can do this is by forgiving them when they wrong us. For when we forgive, we show how wonderful Jesus’ forgiveness is to us. In fact, if we don’t forgive other believers who wrong us, we will drive them away from their faith in Christ and we will suffer the “woe” he will direct toward us. But Jesus promises us that if we stand guard over our own hearts, to keep bitterness from gaining a foothold, we will even be able to forgive repeat offenders. This forgiveness will encourage them to grow in their confidence that Jesus is able to create a community of love in which they can mature as members of God’s family. And it will keep us going to him for the security, stability and satisfaction we need in order to go on cheerfully in the face of adversity.
Gracious Lord, I enjoy being in your community of love. Help me to extend your forgiving grace to those who have hurt me, so I will avoid placing stumbling blocks in the way of their faith. Amen.