“Little Keys, Big Responsibility”
A key is power, and it is great responsibility. It’s just a tiny piece of metal, probably a few ounces, but it is amazing what such a small thing can do. If you’ve ever lost your keys you know exactly what I’m talking about. In your garage you have a fully-functioning car that you have purchased with your own money, and dutifully taken care of. However if that one little key is missing the entire vehicle is useless. It may as well be a giant rock in your garage or driveway. You’re stuck! That little key allows you to make use of your car. A different key opens the door to your home and gives you (or anyone else) access to everything you have inside. Keys are small, but they are powerful and hold great responsibility.
At a recent Church Council meeting, we discussed how many keys to our church might be “out there” among our members. Council members and a few other positions in our congregation have the right to have church keys. But sometimes, those keys aren’t always turned back in when a person vacates a position. It’s not a big problem, but it is a matter that we need to keep on top of, and steps are being taken to eliminate any problem in connection with “missing keys”.
Having a key is a privilege and a responsibility. This leads us to marvel that God has so freely handed out the keys to his kingdom. He told Peter and the rest of his disciples, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19) Some may try to say Jesus was only giving keys to Peter, but he repeated these same words to all of them later in Matthew 18:18. Wasn’t God being a bit careless handing out keys to his kingdom so freely? Would you hand out keys to your house, your car, or your church as liberally as he did? I doubt it. With these keys he has given us each great power and responsibility. He commands us to use the key to open heaven’s door for each repentant sinner, to assure them of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. We don’t have the option to hold a grudge, or give them the silent treatment so that they suffer for their wrongs against us. Unless God has placed another person under our care such as a child to a parent, or student to a teacher, we never have the right to try and punish someone for their sins. That’s God’s job. God commands that we love our neighbor, and that means releasing them from the guilt of their sin when they repent. That same love also leads us to call our brothers and sisters to repentance when they are caught in sin. If they refuse to repent and stay in their sin, the “binding key” is used. That means that we let the person know that as long as they hold steadfastly to their sin, and refuse to repent, their sins stay with them before God, and they are not forgiven. That, as you can well understand, is a dire pronouncement! But again, the goal is not to embarrass, shame or belittle them, but to lead them to repentance and forgiveness and a right relationship with their loving Savior once again. The goal is to rescue their soul from sin. This is the power that God has given to you, and to every believer!