Forgiving by Faith
>Luke 17:3, 5: "'Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him'…The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!'" (NASU).
The apostles' response to this teaching is very interesting. I doubt they were having trouble with rebuke; most people are good at that! But, forgiveness is another matter - we can find it very hard to forgive those who have caused us pain, especially if it's someone we loved and trusted. Our relationship with our kids makes us especially vulnerable.
Notice that the apostles' request was for the faith to forgive, rather than for more love. Although love is essential, real forgiveness requires faith. It is not natural. It takes a living faith to obey Christ and forgive others. When we are obedient and forgive, we trust God to take care of the consequences, handle any misunderstandings, and work everything out for His glory (Rom 8:28).
Love motivates us to forgive, but faith activates the forgiveness so God can use it to work blessings in the lives of His people.