**May is Mental Health Awareness Month**
May 1, 2016 Sunday School Commentary
Lesson Guide, FAITH Series
Facing Up to Failure
Devotional Reading: Jeremiah 23:33-24:6 Highlighted Text – Luke 17:1-10
Key Verse – “So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him (Luke 17:3, NIV).
When I first read the title of today’s lesson, I knew that God was using his sense of humor. As I began to delve more into the lesson, I couldn’t help but to appreciate his personality even more. I’m sure you can relate to times in your life when you have been dealing with something and God forces you to face the reality of your issues. He does it in such away that you can’t question whether or not he is speaking to you. When these convicting moments occur, our response should be one of perhaps shame or disappointment. This indicates that we ourselves are not satisfied with our actions or even thoughts. Failing God does not give us a punishment of a life sentence or death unless we refuse to repent. Unfortunately, when our families, friends or brothers and sisters in Christ fail us, we are not so quickly to forgive. We focus on ways to glorify our victimization. This causes us to not have healthy relationships and more so, not build and edify one another. If you have recently found yourself in similar situations, let us be reminded about what Jesus teaches on the issue.
As Jesus spoke to his disciples, as always he was real with them. He didn’t expect them to be so ‘spiritual’ that they would not encounter offenses or even make them. He knew sin was present in the world. This is why he had to be the ultimate sacrifice. But sin is in opposition of God and must be addressed and dealt with. When he says, “but woe unto him” or “to that person” he is bringing judgment against them. He is not ignoring the offenses one has made. No one should intentionally cause another person to be lead astray or to turn away from the faith. Even if it is untended and brought to one’s attention, it has to be addressed and dealt with.
Point to Ponder: How have you dealt with those that you greatly admire and respect when you learned that they did something unbiblical or against the Christian faith?
Jesus instructs the disciples on what to do when offenses have been made against them. Notice he doesn’t tell them to instantly forgive. He tells them to rebuke, to address the sin first. Sometimes when we ourselves are the offenders, we want instant forgiveness but do not want our sins addressed. This does not allow for edification or healthy relationships. If the offender admits the offense, decided to change his or her mind for the better and wholeheartedly seeks to move past the sin, then we are expected to forgive the person. We will be offended often and possibly by the same person. But God expects us to forgive the person regardless if they continue to offend us. Special note, repent means to turn away from. If the same person is doing the same sin against us, that person has not truly repented.
Point to Ponder: Are you willing to forgive quickly and trust that God is dealing with the offender?
It can be a hard pill to swallow to continue forgiving those that keep offending us. The disciples had the same dilemma. Instead of them focusing on how difficult it would be, they asked Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus response to them was that they did not need gigantic size faith. If they had the faith little as the smallest seed found in a Mulberry tree, that faith was adequate enough for them to forgive their offenders.
Point to Ponder: When faced with the charge to obey God’s Word, do you look everywhere else for help or first within yourself for what God has already given you?
Jesus makes his teaching even more plain for the disciples. He uses the analogy of a servant or worker and his master or superior. It is expected of the servant or worker to do what is expected because it is his duty and not because he is going beyond what is expected. Christians should forgive as according to Jesus’ teachings because it is our duty and obligation to do so and not because we think we are doing something extra or God a favor.
Point to Ponder: Do you do the right thing because you know it is expected or to gain favor or recognition?
We definitely live in a society where everyone seems to be easily offended. We ourselves get frustrated with people, even those closest to us. God wants us to have a forgiving heart just as he wants us to be wise. He does not expect us to be doormats. But he does expect us to honestly handle situations according to his Word without seeking ways around it. My prayer is this:
Oh great and gracious Father, we thank you today for another opportunity to share in a new day you have created. God we want to be able to truly rejoice and be glad in it. LORD, some of us are not able to do so because we have issues lingering. God, we yield and humble ourselves to hear from those that we have offended (even if we don’t think we have). We open our hearts to examine what the accusation is. For edification and out of obligation, we repent, ask forgiveness and/or accept forgiveness. When we find it difficult to repent or forgive quickly, we thank you for reminding us of your judgment and your JESUS, the one who stood in the gap for the forgiveness of our sins. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to face up to our failures through our Faith. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Commentary by, Evangelist Shulanda Hastings
Senior Ministry Leader
Spirit Realm Divine Manifestation Ministries