Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I was reading Matthew 18 today, in which Jesus teaches about reconciliation. "If your brother sins against you..." It's one thing to have someone sin against me, but it seems worse when it's someone I dearly love and hope I can trust.

I'm familiar with the progression. First, go to the person and talk, just the two of you. If there is no reconciliation, take one or two others -- choose such people carefully -- and approach the person again. It may escalate from there to the broader group. Only if all else fails are we to "treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector." (Of course, Jesus had a reputation for treating such people with love, if not trust.) There are several potential steps in the process, but we must be careful not to step too quickly. The final goal is always reconciliation, if possible.

The thought of bringing in additional people makes me cringe, and especially the thought of making the offense public. But I was thinking about it today, and realized again that, by far, the majority of such conflicts can be successfully addressed just in that first step.

There's great wisdom in Matthew 18. Why don't we follow it more often?

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