The last few weeks we have had a series of lessons from Jesus about community life: about binding and loosing. Being loosed to love and serve and also being bound by our knowledge of who Jesus is. Today we heard more about binding and loosing – about stifling life by binding through a lack of forgiveness and about the potential of living a fuller life by loosing through forgiveness.
At the beginning his metaphor about the kingdom of heaven, Jesus tells us about a man who was forgiven much — the amount of debt that he was forgiven was more than he could ever earn. By being forgiven by the one whom he owed, the man was given not only his life back, but the life of his family. Think of a time when you were in desperate need of forgiveness and received it. How did this forgiveness affect your relationship with the one who forgave you?
In the metaphor, the man who had been loosed from debt did not live a life of forgiveness. While he had been forgiven so much, he was not willing to forgive someone who owes him a relatively small amount. He bound his fellow servant, his brother, by not forgiving the debt. How, as church, are we not living the reality of the kingdom of heaven life – who are we, as a people who know what it means to be forgiven, binding and stifling?
In the metaphor, the other people go to the king, the forgiving lord, and explain that their fellow servant is not living according to the lord’s way of being in right relationship. These other servants are living according to the way Jesus described last week – they are actively seeking peace within community. As church, how can we better live lives that are defined by the mercy that God has already shown us?