The Power to Set Free (or enslave)

brown cross on mountain
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:34-36]
Forgiveness sets us free. Even if we are locked up, imprisoned, quarantined, exiled, in chains, we are set free. We live freely when we live in Jesus’ forgiveness. Regardless of earthly circumstance. That is what Jesus is saying here in John 8- “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!”
So, what happens when people freed by the gospel choose not to forgive? In keeping with the metaphor, we leave people in prison. We keep people enslaved when we refuse to forgive. If forgiveness has the power to set us free, then unforgiveness has the power to enslave.
Isn’t that scary? If we choose not to forgive others their trespasses, we are choosing to keep them imprisoned by guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, or worse. Why would we want to do that? It is against the very nature of God, and living against God’s nature is bound to get you outside of God’s Kingdom.
When we refuse to forgive, we ourselves are in danger of becoming enslaved once more- to bitterness, anger, malice, greed, envy. We are in danger of giving up the joy we have in Jesus. We are in danger of reaching back and putting the yoke of slavery on our backs once again.

Let’s stay away from slavery. Let’s live in freedom. Let’s live our lives in a way that demonstrates the love of Jesus- the freedom of Jesus- to everyone we meet.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, you have set us free. Empower us to live as freed people, freeing other people from the dangerous and deadly weight of sin and despair. We trust in you for all things, by the grace of God we live and move and have our being in you. AMEN.

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