Courage to Reconcile

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Saint Stephen of Hungary – Optional Memorial

“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. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church. If he refuses to listen even to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.”  Matthew 18:15-17

Presented here is a clear method of problem solving given to us by Jesus.  First of all, the fact that Jesus offers a basic method of problem solving reveals that life will present us with problems to be solved.  This should not surprise us or shock us.  It’s just life. 

Too often, when someone sins against us or they live in a publically sinful way, we enter into judgment and condemnation.  As a result, we can easily write them off.  If this is done, it’s a sign of a lack of mercy and humility on our part.  Mercy and humility will lead us to desire forgiveness and reconciliation.  Mercy and humility will help us to see others’ sins as opportunities for greater love rather than as reasons to condemn.

How do you approach people who have sinned, especially when the sin is against you?  Jesus makes it clear that if you are sinned against you should go to great lengths to win the sinner back.  You should spend much energy in love of them and do everything possible to reconcile and to bring them back to the truth. 

You must start with a one-on-one conversation.  From there, bring other trusted people into the conversation.  The ultimate goal is the truth and to do all you can to let the truth restore your relationship.  Only after you have tried everything should you then wipe the dust from your feet and treat them as a sinner if they are not won over to the truth.  But even this is an act of love in that it is a way of helping them see the consequences of their sin.

Reflect, today, upon who it is that you may need to reconcile with.  Perhaps you have not yet even had that initial personal conversation required as a first step.  Perhaps you’re afraid to initiate it or perhaps you’ve already written them off.  Pray for grace, mercy, love and humility so that you can reach out to those who hurt you in the way Jesus wants.

Lord, help me to let go of any pride I have that keeps me from being merciful and seeking reconciliation.  Help me to reconcile when the sin against me is small or even great.  May the compassion of Your heart fill mine so that peace can be restored.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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