Friday 18 November 2011

Bible Book:

"Trule I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (v. 18)

Matthew 18:10-20 Friday 18 November 2011


In yesterday's passage Jesus' friends haveasked him about who is greatest in the kingdom ofheaven and he replies by giving them the example of achild. He then goes on to condemn anyone who would put a "stumblingblock" (v. 6) in the way of children. Today's verses continue toexplore the responsibility that we have to other people in ourcommunities and build on the idea of what it might mean to createor remove a stumbling block for others.

The parable of the lost sheep emphasises how important to Jesus iseven a single little one who goes astray and the verses followingbuild on this. If Jesus' words about stumbling blocks are about ourcommunity responsibility to avoid causing others to fall then hisinstructions in this passage are about our responsibility to othersif and when they do fall. Just as the shepherd pursues the one lostsheep, so we are to engage with the member of our community who"sins against you" (v. 15). Rather than withdrawing and criticisingfrom afar with vengeful gossip (however justified we may feel inour behaviour) we are to pursue them and speak to them privately.Only if that fails are we told to involve other people in thematter and even then with only one or two others.

Jesus is advocating a process of great care and respect whendealing with disagreements. In verse 18 he points out how muchpower we have when we deal with people - our binding and ourloosing echo in heaven as well as on earth. We have an awesomeresponsibility to those we are in community with. Jesus shows usthat our words, our actions and our attitudes can not only causeothers to stumble for a moment but they also have eternalramifications.

To Ponder

How have you dealt in the past with people youfeel have wronged you?

How does this measure up to the way Jesus callsus to deal with them?

What would the Church, or any community to whichwe belong, look like if we acted in the way that Jesus isadvocating?

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