Until the Sweatshirt Fits
“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!”
- Luke 17:3-5
When the disciples hear that Jesus wants them to forgive other people, their response is “Increase our faith!” It’s like they are saying, “Wow, you must be kidding me - how am I going to find the inner resources to pull that off! You’re asking for a miracle!” And indeed, he is.
On Sunday, Brenna Rubio told the story of passing down an old college sweatshirt to her daughter when she was younger. It was way too big, but her daughter loved it and wore it regularly. Now, years later, her daughter is about the same size as Brenna - and the sweatshirt is starting to fit pretty nicely. She pointed out how for many of us, forgiveness feels like it’s not a great fit for us right now. That’s okay. Just keep on putting it on (in fact, Paul talks about ‘clothing yourselves’ with forgiveness in Colossians 3:9-10). Sure, it might not fit perfectly the first time, but you’ll grow into it.
In the verses after the ones above, Jesus talks about how faith as small as a tiny seed is enough to do incredible things in the kingdom. That may be in part because Jesus knows that it’s the first step that plants the seed and then it grows and grows. And, like the sweatshirt, it eventually fits.
So today, do two things. First, ask Jesus to increase your faith - so that you can try on forgiveness as best as you can for today.
Second, plan on the practice for the week. Each day set aside a time (put a reminder on your phone!) to pray the Lord’s Prayer. Pause when you get to “as we have forgiven our debtors” and let the Spirit bring to mind whoever you need to work on forgiving. Take your best step towards forgiving them, knowing that it’s often a process.