Forgiveness and the “Little Ones”

A funny thing happened on my way to get a cane yesterday. I’ve been using a cane with flowers on it that I got for Toni a few years ago, when she injured her knee.

As I approached the check out, I noticed four employees, who seemed to pay their customers, lady and me, no attention.

It was a good thing that I had looked at today’s Bible passage. It saved me from being a jerk, as I waited about ten minutes for assistance.

Before I tell more of my cane excursion story, let’s look at Jesus’ teaching.

Care for the “Little Ones.”

God has consistently expressed his concern for the “little ones” of our world. Jesus echoed this sentiment many times in his teaching.

Luke 17.1-4Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come!

“It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

“Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive.

“And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.”

The “little ones” were prominent in Jesus’ ministry.

— They were the poor to whom the good news came and who were called “blessed” by Jesus.

— The sick and demonized fit the category of “little ones.”

— The excluded outsiders and sinners were among the “little ones,” who received Jesus ministry.

— In my case today, the “little one” was an employee who was getting fired in front of co-workers and customers. I am very happy that I kept my mouth shut.

The Benefit of Daily Bible Reading

I have told people that I write this blog for me. I need to study the Bible and the blog keeps me accountable to do just that.

Suppose today’s Bible passage hadn’t been in my mind when I was in the store? I hate to think what my response could have been.

Thank God for a daily reminder of the way Jesus taught and acted.

As Rudy Ross frequently says, we need the daily bread of God’s word.

Extending Forgiveness

Mature followers of Jesus make bad choices, and so do the “little ones.”

Forgiveness absorbs the hurt of the offense or wrong.

Paul wrote, “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6.2).

One way that we bear the burden of another is to absorb the hurt they create. However, we need help to accomplish this.

When we are burdened we can do what Peter recommended: “Cast all your cares on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5.7).

Only Jesus can help us respond properly to the pain of offenses.

When I begin to rehearse the offense someone has given me, I know it is “praying time.” Every time the “tape” of how I have been offended and hurt begins to play in my head, I know God wants me to pray.

As I turn hurts and offenses into prayer, Jesus has never failed me. Sometimes it has taken weeks and months to get a victory, but Jesus always makes it happen.

The Disciples Respond

The disciples had been following Jesus for a year or two at this point. They were still surprised by Jesus’ teaching.

Luke 17.5-6The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.'”

The Book of Hebrews teaches, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled” (Hebrews 12.15).

Unforgiveness and resentment causes a “root of bitterness” to grow in a person’s heart.

As we trust Jesus to forgive others through us, he will “upright” the “root of bitterness” from our inner self.

C. S. Lewis reminds us that it takes a tremendous effort to forgive a great pain. I never want to minimize the pain that people experience through the sins of others.

With that said, Jesus wants you to cast your cares on him and experience the freedom he gives.

Please let Jesus keep you from creating offenses and ask him to help you forgive those who have offended you.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on today’s YouTube broadcast on the Bob Spradling channel.

Rudy and I have had lively discussions for years about the Bible. He has insights you will want to hear.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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