Truly I tell you…

TELLING THE TRUTH is seldom easy. Appeasement, turning a blind eye, blaming circumstance or another, and more so if that other is not present; these are easier. But the truth, however avoided or suppressed never goes away. When Jesus speaks to us, whether through Scripture, through prayer or nature, through the eyes or voice of stranger or companion, he looks into our very soul, “Truly, I tell you…” And he calls us, who would be “Followers of the Way”, to do the same.

“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault”

Sin and fault are English translations of Jesus’ words and they carry a judgementalism alien to their intention. Hurt might be better. Go and tell her/him how you are hurting because of something they have said or done or are doing. Start with the pain. Ask why. Beyond that, “I see that you are hurting too. Have I done something to hurt you?” Be prepared to listen. Let the direction be reconciliation not retribution, and certainly not “comp”!

“…if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector”

Humility is necessary for reconciliation. Humility is not backing down because conflict has not been averted by gentle directness. If the offender has not yet found the humility to listen even to the church (ecclesia, Matthew’s term, does not refer to church hierarchy but to the people of the church community), then they place themselves at this moment outside that community. However, Gentile and tax collector are far from lost causes to Jesus! It is to the outsider he goes. And when he goes, he says, “Truly I tell you…” And he encourages us, “The first will be last, and the last will be first…” Pick up your cross. Tell the truth. Take the pain and you will find that the pain is already borne.

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on September 21, 2017.

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