Several times over the last two weeks, while studying or doing devotional reading, I have come across two verses of Scriptures that have caused me to do a great deal of thinking about various issues.
In Matthew 16:19, Jesus says, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” In the second verse, from John 20:23, Jesus says, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you refuse to forgive them, they are unforgiven.”
What are we binding on the earth? What are we loosening on the earth? Are these things that we should be binding or loosening?
What are we forgiving? What are we refusing to forgive? Are we forgiving the right things? Are we refusing to forgive the right things?
What do these passages say to us about issues like gay marriage, abortion, war, torture, corporate greed, white collar crime, etc?
These two verses don’t stand alone. They are surrounded by many other important verses. I tend to not be one who grabs one verse and focuses on it. But, over the last two weeks, these two verses have grabbed me. These two verses have been challenging my thinking on issues…both major and minor.
I feel that, at times, the Church (mainly the religious leaders) have been in the business of binding and loosening, forgiving and not forgiving the wrong things. I’m afraid that we have picked the wrong battles. I’m fearful that we’ve had too narrow of a focus. And, we’ve helped create a Christian culture that is more consumed in what we are binding and not forgiving than in what we should be doing.
There are many in the church who are more concerned that two men might join together in a civil union than they are that the divorce rate among Christians is rapidly increasing or that people…children will die tonight because they don’t have clean water or enough food. I’d like to see the Church rise up to stand “for” something, rather than “against” something. We are at our loudest when it comes to gay marriage and abortion. Yet, we are all too silent when it comes to hunger, AIDS, war, torture, greed, divorce, mis-treatment of God’s creation, and so on.
What can we do to make sure we are binding and loosing the right things?