If he sins against you seven times in the day ...

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 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.

It is a fact of life that people, even religious people, can lead us astray. Who you allow into your life, who you allow to influence you, can have disastrous affects on your life. Jesus paints a severe image of the one who brings temptations into the lives of others. And before we cast stones at the drug dealers and pimps it would do us well to remember those who cause us to disparage others because of the things that they say from the pulpit. We are all guilty.

Even so, Jesus paints another image, a bigger picture, of the way that we must respond to those who sin against us. Ever notice the disciples' reaction to Jesus command to forgive seven times in one day? They seemed to understand that a "seven times in one day" style of forgiveness required a kind of faith that they did not feel they had. Yet the Lord responds saying that it is not the largeness of faith that counts but simply the existence of it.

Lead me today Lord in ways that encourage those around me to repent, to be forgiven and to follow you.

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