Jesus outlines steps toward reconciliation in Matthew 18. Although we know that the steps are wise, loving, and unifying, we also know they are not easy for us. For one thing, the world around us encourages the opposite. We hear judgmental characterizations of people on radio, television, and the Internet. Cynical greeting cards seem to be humorous, but are hurtful. News broadcasts are filled with depressing stories of violence, which are trivialized by commercials that promise easy solutions to life’s problems.
In the midst of this polarized and divisive world, Jesus offers us a straightforward step toward healing: “If another . . . sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone” (Matthew 18:15). Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 are both more clear and more urgent: “When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
This message is adapted from “Jesus Says ‘Go’!” written by Myrna Sheie in the September 2012 issue of Gather magazine.