Luke 17:1-4 NRSVue
1Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for sin are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come! 2It 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 sin., 3Be on your guard! If a brother or sister sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. 4And 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.”
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Causing others to stumble, introducing another human to sin: that is something I would not want to live with or die with. I am heir to much sinfulness, and can sometimes fail to shed that inheritance. Lord, you will forgive me if I am sorry, even if it happens again and again.
Remember Louis McNeice: /I am not yet born; forgive me for the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me, my treason engendered by traitors beyond me, my life when they murder by means of my hands, my death when they live me. /
Sin is awful and will always be forgiven if we say sorry. That's the message of the harsh statement about scandal and leading others astray. Religious people put so many burdens on people in Jesus' day that people could stumble over religion everywhere. Religion is meant to be expansive and widen the heart of love within us. If we sin in any way, God forgives. The faith that is strong enough to move us in love through life is born in forgiveness. Sometimes prayer is a space to relax into the mystery of the forgiveness of God.