Luke 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
It comes like kind of a curveball amid Jesus admonitions about stumbling blocks and their implications. Something about putting a millstone-sized piece of ballast around our necks as we go swimming.
Not much forgiveness in that! But what do we think Jesus was talking about as a cause for stumbling or offending? Not saying please or thank-you? Talking out of turn? Dumping all over someone's favorite sports team, alma mater, style of worship, taste in music?
Could Jesus be talking about pedophilia, sexual abuse of minors, fascination wtih (additcion) to porn, cheating on our spouse?
All that... and more.
Trusting anything more than God. Putting anything in the place of God. That kind of thing.
Then Jesus goes on to talk about inexhaustible forgiveness, makes it sound as though one allows oneself to be completely ripped off, taken advantage of, in giving out forgiveness. Well... OhhhhhKaaaaaay.......
Then what about the spouse beater who has a five- or ten-day orbit cycle? Every time it happens she/he swears sorrow, that it won't happen again?
We have to mince words and protect the vulnerable, say that this kind of cylical behavior does not meet the standard of repentance (turning back) that is called for in order for forgiveness to be granted.
Jesus says that faith the size of a mustard seed could uproot mulberry trees. He talks about doing the servant's duty in coming in from the fields and then preparing our master's meal before we tend to ourselves.
In other words, be faithful and trust that we will be faith-filled in the course of doing so.
We should not pretend as if, act as if, we were the master. And we are well advised to not wait around until we have enough faith in order to set to work making the Master's meal--or anyone else's, for that matter.
Our Vietnam POW's held up very well considering. They might not have considered themselves strong enough to do so before finding themselves in the situation.
Odd thing about faith. It's not quantifiable or directly comparable. It is really only given in the doing of something that seems behond us before we do it. Kinda like comparing the size of the mustard seed to the full-grown mulberry tree.
The tree started from a seed even smaller than the mustard seed.
May we have and be given the life and faith to grow each day.