Read Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Ps. 66:1-3,5,16-17, Matthew 18:15-20

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” (Matthew 18:15)

In teaching us to pray, Jesus added the phrase “as we forgive those who sin against us” because He knows that people must offend us. We cannot avoid being offended, but we can always avoid anger, bitterness, malice and hatred. Today, Jesus suggests steps we are to take in seeking reconciliation.

Step 1: Go to the person who has hurt you and discuss ONE-on-ONE with them. (Matthew 18:15). Avoid telling others before meeting the person involved. This is gossiping and damages the image of the one who offended you.

Jesus says, “If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15). This meeting aims to regain your offender. It is not to insult, derogate or threaten them. When we are angry, we often make the mistake of transferring aggression rather than reconciling.

If we end up annoying the other person to express our anger, we would have two angry “beasts” ready to devour each other at the expense of the right reason and logic. This is why cooling down before approaching your offender is always better.

Some persons may be offended but refuse to let their offenders know. Pretending to smile with someone while carrying bitterness in your heart against them is dangerous and unchristian. No wonder Jesus says we must ensure you reconcile with those who have something against you before presenting your gift. If you are unhappy with me, let me know so I can be more careful and not worsen the injury.

Step 2: Jesus says: If your brother refuses to reconcile with you, invite one or persons. Find neutral parties to resolve the matter, preferably those you both hold in high esteem. Only proceed to the next step if this fails.

Step 3: Invite the church. Jesus says: “If the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:17-18) Nevertheless, there remains one last step.

Step 4: Prayer. Jesus says: “When two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20). Very often, we forget this last step. It is not enough that we try to win back those who offend us; we must also pray that God would touch their hearts to repent. St. Paul advises: “Brother goes to the law against another brother and before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong?” (1 Corinthians 6:6-7).

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, give me the wisdom to act right and forgive when someone sins against me. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of week 19 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Ps. 66:1-3,5,16-17, Matthew 18:15-20).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu