Jessica Albritton, Family and Connections Minister, LHBC
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Once a man bought a parrot from a pet store and brought him home. But shortly after arriving home the parrot started insulting his new owner. The bird’s nasty insults soon became too much for the owner to deal with and after a few days he had had enough. The man, in a fit of rage, storms over to the parrot, scoops him up, and tosses him in the freezer. “That’ll teach him a lesson!” exclaimed the man. For the first few minutes in the freezer the bird squawked and continued to hurl insults from inside, but after a while the parrot settled down and stopped yelling. The man calmly went over to the freezer, opened the door, and let the bird out. The parrot looks up at the man and says, “I apologize for offending you, and I humbly ask your forgiveness.” The man looked kindly at the bird and responded, “Well, thank you for your apology! I forgive you.” The parrot walks out the freezer and timidly looks at the owner. “If you don’t mind me asking, what did the chicken do?” You know, it’s really easy to ask forgiveness when you think the punishment is worse than the humiliation of admitting you were wrong. Furthermore, it’s really easy to offer forgiveness when the one you are forgiving is truly apologetic.
In Luke 17 we read an interesting analogy from Jesus as He gives the disciples and apostles advice on increasing their faith. Jesus tells them, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” You know, my whole Christian life I had read that verse as another version of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” That’s what it sounds like, right? But the other day I was reading it in context of the surrounding passages. Right before this question is asked of Jesus He is speaking on the importance of overcoming the temptation to sin. In the dialogue Jesus addresses what a believer is to do if they are rebuked. Jesus tells the disciples if the aggressor repents they are to forgive. Jesus goes on to say, “if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” This implies an unlimited number of times to forgive their brother and goes against every natural impulse that we as humans have! How can we do that? Well, we can’t… in our own strength. The apostles recognized their own inadequacy in the forgiveness department and asked Jesus how to increase their faith. When we have true faith in the Father, and recognize what He did for us through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, we can love like only He loves, and in true love we have the ability to forgive like only He can! Jesus tells the disciples that even the smallest amount of faith, like that of a mustard seed, “you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” The mulberry tree is a fast growing tree and produces shallow horizontal roots. Many houses have had foundational issues due to the roots of a mulberry tree being planted too close to their home! Because the roots spread out the way they do it can be an ordeal to uproot it! That sounds a lot to me like bitterness… Jesus tells His disciples that with even the smallest amount of faith you can tell a mulberry tree to uproot itself and be tossed into the sea!
Friend, forgiveness is HARD and it goes against everything in us! But with faith in the Father we can find the strength to forgive others that have wronged us and tell the roots of bitterness to be uprooted in our lives and be cast out! Who are you struggling to forgive today? Take it to the Father and ask Him to increase your faith!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, increase my faith! Help me to love like You and forgive like You too! Uproot the bitterness that has been growing in my life and cast it far away! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE FOR THE WEEK:
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!