Anything less is a bondage.

Fr. Stephen asks rhetorically, “Can You Forgive Someone Else’s Enemies?” with a look at the words and actions of Jesus in the Gospels, and reflecting on the story of The Brothers Karamazov. He writes:

Forgiving is “loosing.” Refusing to forgive is “binding.” The imagery of loosing and binding helps move the imagination away from a legal construction. When we sin, or even when we are involved in sin, we become bound. There is a binding that occurs because we ourselves were the cause of the sin. There is a binding that occurs because we ourselves were the victim of a sin. Thchrist forgiving resurrection 2ere is a binding that occurs because we simply witness the sin. There is even a form of binding that occurs to the whole of humanity because of the diminishment of even one of its members. If everyone were somehow only responsible for their own actions the world would be quite different. As it is, the action of one involves the binding of all. Adam’s sin has left us bound ever since. We are not being held legally responsible for Adam’s action. We are existentially and ontologically bound by Adam’s sin.

These truths are hard to grasp, even for the intellect, and Fr. Stephen helps me quite a bit at that level. But to live in the reality of our freedom, to acquire and absorb and give this kind of liberating love — it’s something impossible, were it not for the fact and the power of the Resurrection. Lent is a good time to pray about this, yes?

I’m looking forward to seeing all of my children at once this weekend, and the thought of them and their tender, breakable and forgiving hearts gives me great comfort; they are a testimony to the kindness of God. And His kindness certainly pertains to the article I was referencing, the whole of which you can read here.

6 thoughts on “Anything less is a bondage.

  1. G, had to read this several times in order for a glimmer to shine through thick skull! The visual of bindings and loosenings/loosings for me, really helped carry the ideation of forgiveness. I still wonder what you think of: Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Mat 16:19 NKJ) If bindings are loosed on Earth (and it is also Loosed in heaven) the benefit of that loosening is that the spiritual self will be closer to God in that realm? Sort of like the bindings of Earth are like spiritual anchors that hold the soul down/backward…what are your thoughts?

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    1. Becky, did you read all of Fr. Stephen’s article that I linked to? He mentions that passage about “Whatever you bind on earth…” and explores these ideas far beyond the excerpt I posted, which in itself was probably more confusing than helpful. Also, I find that the comments of other readers on his articles often help to amplify and bring home the meanings. I’m sure forgiveness is one of those things that becomes more clear when we not only think and read about it, but get more experience doing it.

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  2. My brain is very tired tonight. I got some of that, but I think I’ll have to come back for a second shot at it. 🙂 Blessings on you and your sweet family. When you describe your children they sound so much like my own. We are blessed!

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  3. Those are wonderful words, Gretchen. Forgiveness is very essential, and without it our souls are eaten with bitterness. I’d never thought of that insidious binding effect of sin, and how forgiveness loosens it, but that is a very powerful concept.

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