Increase - by Greg Steggerda

One thing all Christians know is doubt. Most of the time it has its roots in misunderstanding: we just can’t see what God might be doing in a given situation. Sometimes we legitimately wonder about things we understand pretty well. And often we compare what we do with what we know to be right and wonder why so often there’s such a difference.

In those times, I think we all can relate to Jesus’ disciples as he taught them about forgiveness in Luke 17:3-6: “‘So watch yourselves.“‘If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.
’“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’“
He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you.’”

Like us, the disciples may not have understood. “Lord, I don’t see why I should forgive people who consistently sin against me. Isn’t that enabling? Do I really have to put up with it? Increase my faith!”

Like us, the disciples may have understood but struggled to agree. “Lord, I get it - you’re God and you forgive. But I live here with these people and they don’t need to be coddled or encouraged, they need to be challenged and held accountable. Forgiving them means nothing changes, but if that’s what you want, increase my faith!”

Like us, the disciples may have understood what Jesus meant and agreed with it but found themselves guilty too often of not forgiving. “Lord, I know I should forgive and I understand why, but my heart is too bitter, and my discipline is too weak. Increase my faith!”

It’s comforting that Jesus doesn’t expect a great faith from us, just faith the size of a mustard seed. Even so, the disciples’ cry becomes my prayer: Increase my faith, oh Lord!