23rd Sunday in OT
“If your brother or sister sins against you,
go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.”
Dear Family in Christ,
This Sunday, Jesus gives us some of the most practical, valuable, and ignored instruction in the Sacred Scriptures: Biblical Correction. Foreseeing the reality that His imperfect children would sin against each other and never lack the need for reconciliation, He gave us a simple (though not easy) 3-step process for pointing out and resolving interpersonal issues:
If one of your brother or sisters sins against you,
Point it out when you are alone
If that fails, bring one or two others with you
If that fails, bring the matter before the Church
If all these fail, this person is no longer to be treated as a brother or sister. Does this sound harsh? Without question- but I think the hardest part about this might be the first step: pulling someone who has hurt you aside, telling them what they did, and how it made you feel.
Perhaps it is because I grew up during a time when more and more of our interactions became less private because of things like social media. It could also be that I lack courage, or the ability to really love as Jesus commands us. Whatever the case, I find this process difficult primarily because, when someone sins against me, it is so much easier to complain/vent/gossip about them to everyone else, but act like I wasn’t hurt when they are present. Put simply, Jesus calls us to have the hard conversations in private, but speak well(or not at all) of the person and their faults in public- and we just find it so much easier to do the exact opposite.
If you, like me, feel like Jesus is talking directly to you in this Gospel, I think that’s a good thing- even if it’s uncomfortable. Chances are, there are people in our lives right now who have sinned against us in some way, and maybe we have yet to address it. Maybe it’s been too easy to ignore, and easier still to tell everyone else about what a terrible person so-and-so is. I can’t help but think that this is our invitation to love better by letting Jesus shape the way we handle conflict.
God love you,