When reading in Luke 17 I noticed something very interesting. Here the disciples are with Jesus and ask Him how many times they have to forgive someone who has done them wrong. Then he tells them in vs 4 “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”. What was interesting to me was the disciples’ reply. Their reply was asking the Lord to increase their faith. You see the disciples had never asked Jesus to increase their faith before. They saw miracle after miracle with Jesus and yet never asked that question. But when it came to forgiveness and the Lord let them know that sometimes they would have to forgive multiple times in a day then they asked to increase their faith. They knew the only way to walk in that kind of forgiveness was if their faith walk was strong. This is true in our lives as well! The times in my life where I’ve been able to forgive the easiest is because my relationship with God is the strongest. What I really want to focus on with you is the Lord’s reply, “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you”. Most of us have heard this scripture before but I want to dissect with you why He chose a sycamine tree. Why out of all the trees in the earth did Jesus point out the sycamine tree in this verse?
A sycamine tree:
-Produces fruit that looks like a fig but the taste is bitter. This tells us that we can produce fruit in our lives easily but when our hearts aren’t right our fruit is bitter. Sure everything can look great on the outside but what is actually happening on the inside? God didn’t call us to produce bitter fruit but good, life giving fruit.
-It grows extremely fast. Most trees take years to develop but this one grew rapidly. People would grow this tree for shade. When we let unforgiveness creep in it starts to grow fast and at a rapid pace in our lives.
-It was used to make caskets. Unforgiveness keeps you from moving onto the next season of your life, it’s basically where dreams go to die. When unforgiveness and bitterness starts to come into your heart you’re letting your dreams go to a place to die. You have to make the choice, are your dreams and destiny worth you holding onto this grudge and bitterness?
-It has deep roots. Just as fast as it grew up it grew down too. Unforgiveness does the same in our lives. Before we know it, it begins to take root and grow deep down into every being of who we are.
-It grows in any environment. Some trees only thrive in certain areas but this tree can be planted anywhere and it will grow. Isn’t it amazing that unforgiveness will still grow no matter where you are planted. Someone can be planted in the most life giving church, be surrounded by the most encouraging people, and still be harboring unforgiveness. We need to change our hearts to change our environment, not change the environment to change our heart.
Friend, what if you had faith like the grain of a mustard seed? Something so small that can take a tree like the sycamine and uproot it. It’s time for us to walk in forgiveness so that we can experience all that God has for us in our life!