Luke 17:1 (NIV) 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.”
In this life we all have people who constantly offend others. Then there are those people who are always feeling offended with someone else. We don’t want to be either of those. The scripture above and other scriptures assure us that offenses are going to come. God is generous to give us instruction on how to deal with it when someone offends us (sins against us).
I spoke with someone this week who was dealing with anger toward an offender and wanted to know how to get rid of it. This message will help with this. The message will also deal with our need to forgive the other person for their sake, for our own sake, and for God’s sake.
Matthew 18 actually gives a step-by-step procedure in facing the person with their offense, and the word also reminds us to speak the truth in love. It is hard to feel concern for someone who intentionally brings pain, but it is a reality that their aggressive behaviors often come from a source of experience in their own lives.
Jesus hung on the cross and asked God to forgive his offenders because they didn’t realize what they were doing. Stephen, when he was stoned to death by a hateful crowd, asked God to not hold this against them. Spiritually, this sound good, but logically, when we hurt… we often want to hurt-the-hurter. This message will help us to look beyond our pain to heaven’s gain and to our own spiritual health.