Summary: Jesus teaches us all that through mustard seed faith we are able to do the impossible - we are able to uproot and get rid of the sycamine trees of bitterness and forgiveness that seek to grow in our lives causing disharmony and chaos.
Theme: MUSTARD TRIUMPHS SYCAMINE
Jesus teaches us all that through mustard seed faith we are able to do the impossible - we are able to uproot and get rid of the sycamine trees of bitterness and forgiveness that seek to grow in our lives causing disharmony and chaos
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world.
You walk around the corner and you see them coming straight towards you. You think about turning around but they have already made eye contact. It's too late. They give you the biggest smile in the world. Now, how can you reject that smile? There is nothing to do but to go ahead and go towards them.
You sigh as you walk up shaking your head (not enough to be seen) thinking - I hope they don't want to talk about another one of their problems. The last one took over an hour and you're not sure that anything productive was accomplished. But as soon as their mouth opens your hopes are dashed. Yep, they have another problem and they think that you are the only one that can help them.
What do you do? Do you offer to sit down with them and help them out again? Do you make up an excuse and run away? Should they really be taking up this much of your time? When will they grow up and begin to handle things on their own? Is it fair for them to depend on you as their counselor, mentor and friend? Oh, well, how do you say no to that face? How do you say you don't have time? You sit down and listen and do your best to help them.
But no sooner are you finished with your counseling session when out of the corner of your eye you see them. You can't believe it. Of all the people on the planet why do they have to be here? Why them and why now? Your heart sinks and your throat tightens up. You muscles start to contract. You prepare for their attack. You know they will blast you with some snide or rude remark. You think, why do they always have to be so mean? It's like they took a class on meanness and aced it. Why can't they find someone else to pick on or to criticize? Right when they know that they have hurt you they always laugh off their antics by saying that they are just joking. They don't mean anything and they hope you can take it. If they have hurt your feelings they are sorry, but hey, no harm, no foul. They are only joking. But who needs that kind of joking?
You ask God, "Just how many times do you have to put up with them? How many times do you have to forgive them?" Why can't God just go and remove them from the face of the earth? The world would be better or at least your world would be better.
That's what is going on in verses 1 - 4 in our passage this morning. Jesus is teaching about how to live together in a community of faith. He is dealing with two things that can create a great deal of chaos and disharmony. One of course involves working with people who seem to never grow in the faith. People who seem to go from one problematic situation to another problematic situation They seem to perpetually be stuck in some kind of spiritual mud.
The second situation deals with what happens when one disciple sins against another disciple. When people get on one another's nerves or treat each other wrongly. How many times is it necessary to forgive the same person? Do you have to do it over and over and over again? Isn't there some kind of forgiving quota that once you reached it you don't have to put up with rude, stupid and foolish people?
Jesus reminds us all that there is a law of love that must be practiced. A love that reaches out to those younger in the faith and that loves them and assists them along their journey. A love that doesn't give up on them or hope that simply go away. A love that enables us to sit down with them and help them when they are in trouble or when think they need our help. A love that helps us deal with patience, kindness and humility.
Jesus also reminds us that there is also a responsible love. A love that is able to rebuke and reprove people but at the same time is able to forgive those same people even if it means forgiving them over and over again. Jesus is telling his disciples that they must have the ability to discipline but always with a spirit of unconditional love and forgiveness.