8th March 2019

Loose or Bound?

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Matthew 18:18-20 (NRSV)

Miroslav Volf in his book, The End of Memory, talks about forgiveness. He discusses his over 20 year battle to understand and give forgiveness to Captain G. who had interrogated and psychologically abused him while doing his military service. He thought about justice, revenge, reconciliation, remembering and forgetting—all the things we wrestle with after been hurt, especially by those who are close to us.

As the victim, all too often I want my pound of flesh and refuse to follow the Biblical injunction to go to the one who hurt me. Instead, I will be complaining to all and sundry, and even allowing it to dominate my prayer life. As the perpetrator, I want instant forgiveness, and moving on as if nothing had happened. In our humanity we go to extremes, wrestle with the tensions, our emotions and our faith. It is not always easy to forgive. Yet, that is what Jesus modelled and He calls us to follow.

One of Volf’s conclusions is: “To triumph fully, evil needs two victories, not one” with the initiation and the retaliation (page 9). In forgiving, evil is defeated; the cycle is stopped and its grip released. Secondly, in forgiving we make the miraculous gift and graciousness of God our own (p 208). It reflects his heart toward his creation and Jesus carries the burden which is too heavy for us to bear.

Instead of letting the root of bitterness grow, rather, through the grace of God let the fruit of joy grow in our relationships to release those wrongs (real or imagined). Those things that we stew over in the dark, bring into the warm glow of God’s light for forgiveness so people have the opportunity to be reconciled. In our ‘righteous anger’ remember the Innocent One took upon himself the guilt of the world while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8) and said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

So today remember we are both sinner and sinned against. We are all in need of forgiveness which God freely gives. Let us work together to bind ourselves in forgiveness and loose the evil that entraps so many.

Prayer
Faithful and forgiving Father, thank you for the gracious gifts that you bestow. Help us to give as we have received from you. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by David Gibbs

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About the Author:
David Gibbs in an Elder and Pastoral Worker for Grace Communion International in Central England and South Wales.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
BIRMINGHAM
B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1:00pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 07777-667635
Email: david.gibbs@gracecom.church