READ: Luke 17:1-19
THINK: Jesus' followers should be known for helping to relieve others of their hurts and offenses by extending compassion and forgiveness. Christians certainly should not be known to cause or contribute to people's hurts and offenses by giving a negative impression of God or influencing others to defy Him. As a follower of Jesus, you must always guard your behavior so as to help reconcile people to God, not alienate them from Him.
RESPOND: In what ways do people often cause or influence others to sin or defy God? Why is this such a serious offense to the Lord? (See 17:2 note.) Why do people often try to involve others in their sinful and destructive activities? Why is it so important to have an attitude of forgiveness toward those who hurt or offend you? (See 17:3 note.) What can happen in your own life and spirit if you refuse to forgive? What can forgiveness do for the person who receives it? What can it do for the person who offers it? Does forgiving someone necessarily imply trusting them? Why or why not? (See 17:3 note.) Does forgiving mean that you allow someone to persistently mistreat you? Why or why not? When Jesus responded to the disciples' request to increase their faith, what did His answer indicate about the amount of faith we need for great things? If the amount of faith is not the main issue, what are the keys to exercising faith? What do verses 7-10 indicate about the attitude you should have in regard to serving God? Why do you think only one of the lepers returned to thank Jesus? How does this story challenge or inspire you? (See 17:16 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to give you a continual attitude of mercy and forgiveness. If someone has hurt you in the past and the situation is still unresolved, pray for God's help in dealing with any lingering pain so that the situation does not continue to hurt or destroy you. Pray that the other person will accept forgiveness and get right with God.
ACT: If you've been a bad influence on anyone, ask God to forgive you. Apologize to those involved, and ask for their forgiveness. If someone has offended you, forgive them--in person if appropriate. Also, consider God's many benefits and blessings to you. If you've taken anything for granted, take time to express gratitude to God for His goodness.
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