Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'” Luke 17:1-10
I have never understood why it seems to be human nature to laugh when someone stumbles and falls. Fortunately, it is often human nature to help a person up and make sure they are ok. None the less, we all stumble and fall, some of us, like me, more often than not. Some of us have challenges that make walking difficult, if not impossible. We don't find fault or laugh, necessarily, at those who have difficulties, but we can get very impatient and annoyed by their need.
Jesus is talking with his disciples after having gathered children and blessed them, despite the fact that the disciples had tried to keep them away from the teacher. He wanted them to understand how responsible they were for others, especially the vulnerable, and how often they should forgive those who stumble. We are reminded too today have easy it is to criticize and how important it is for us to forgive.
Today I ask God to give me a forgiving heart and patience with my own and others stumbling. May we recognize of need to constantly support and forgive those around us, and help keep the most vulnerable safe from stumbling.