The Choke Hold

Recently I had the privilege of sitting in on a small prayer meeting. The thing about settings where there’s a small number of people is that if those in attendance are interested it gives room for lively and engaging dialogue. 

The nature of the prayer meeting gave space for people to share their prayer points, a time of prayer and then aftermath. That was looking at what ever came up in the light of the prayer. There was something about the nature of the meeting that allowed a great degree of candid sharing. People were not there to judge or criticise, but encourage and even rebuke where necessary. 

During the course of the meeting some raw issues emerged about obstacles in the way that prevented individuals truly enjoying the presence of God. It was insightful seeing just how much of a choke hold relational issues had in blocking people’s growth. The grip was tight – the story of the hurt that was caused and the effect it had was sad. The extent of the effect left more than a scar in the life of the victim. It left a bitterness, anger and simmering malice that could not bear to consider the person even in a passing thought. The struggle to release the perpetrator only left the victim in a choke hold of their own making. 

This is not untypical in settings with believers, because we are still hurt people and hurt people, hurt people. Jesus knew that. It’s why forgiveness was a big deal in the Kingdom presentation. As God forgives us of being the perpetrators of sin, so He requires us to forgive others. This is possible when we remember what we have been forgiven of, but it does not always happen. When it does not happen the choke hold tightens. We can’t be effective recipients of grace because our tendency to hold the grudge does not give room to hold His grace too. There’s only room to hold one. 

Letting go and releasing others is not easy and that’s why we need His grace. That grace is the power to release others and we see that in action through the example of Jesus and the example of Stephen when he was being bludgeoned to death. We need that grace to break the strong grip of the choke hold – it’s the only hope we have to breathe easier again. 

For His Name’s Sake 


C. L. J. Dryden 


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