The one thing you will experience this year is sin.  This year you will either stumble or cause someone to stumble.  How we respond to stumbling is crucial and Jesus has things to say about this in Luke 17:1-10.

“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.” (Luke 17)

Jesus presents a very simple model to remedy stumbling – whether we are victim, perpetrator, or both!

Sin → Rebuke → Repent → Forgive

When we look at this simple model we realise that each step (except the first) does not come naturally.

It is hard to point out someone’s offences in a constructive way.  Can’t we just overlook it or politely avoid the person?

It is harder to receive correction from others, to say: “I did the wrong thing. I am sorry. I will commit to change”.

Hardest of all is to forgive and to renew relationship.  Can’t we just forget it, move on – the apostles responded “Increase our faith”!

Jesus tells them that they don’t need extra faith because God is not passive in this process (v.6).  When Christians seek forgiveness or give forgiveness it is akin to watching a miracle – like watching a tree uproot itself, place itself in the sea, and flourish!  Christian forgiveness is miraculous.  Forgiveness demonstrates both faith and the power of God.  What a witness to the world!

The next time you experience sin, make it a miracle opportunity.  Follow the Master’s formula.  Amaze humanity around you with the power of God!  It is our duty.

Denis Oliver