If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. Matthew 18:15 NABRE
Jesus is teaching about the kind of kingdom He expects to establish. In this chapter He speaks of being humble, avoiding personal sin, scandalizing others, seeking the lost, forgiving those who harm you (as we see in the quoted verse.) We are to imitate God’s care for people, first we should seek the lost and we should find a means to always forgive. If a member of your community has done something to harm you, your first inclination should be to seek reconciliation. Jesus does not teach to ignore their infraction but to privately take your concern to the offender, speaking to them alone. It is not about revenge or getting even, Jesus’ only hope is for reconciliation, to mend divides in the community. Without finger pointing or blame, go to the offender and tell them what we have recognized in their action or speech, letting them know how we have been offended. If they listen then we have won them over, we have mended a divide in the community and we have built trust. Jesus goes on in this section to say if they do not listen take a witness so that the offender may know the seriousness of their offense. If this approach bears no fruit then the issue should be taken to the religious authorities. Jesus’ main concern is for the community, these offenses between members can fracture a community and bring down the entire enterprise.
This is good practice even for communities defined by national borders. We can see in many countries today a great divide that has many people speaking about others and pointing fingers, no one is listening or trying to reconcile. This will lead to a great fall.
How do you handle offense? Do you seek reconciliation in fractured relationships?If a member of your community has done something to harm you, your first inclination should be to seek reconciliation. Jesus does not teach to ignore their infraction but to privately take your concern to the offender. Click To Tweet
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