Friday, September 8, 2017
Reflections: Making Peace
Did you know Jesus is an expert in relationships and conflict management? We get a glimpse of his peacemaking ability in this week's Gospel lesson.
Most of the time, the stories in the Bible tell us about Jesus teaching the crowds that come to see him. In this particular passage from Matthew, Jesus is alone with the disciples and gives them a lot of advice on how to get along.
Read Matthew 18: 15-20
Maybe there was some disagreement among them- the Gospel doesn't say- but Jesus definitely wanted them to think about how they lived together and cared for one another. He suggests when someone treats you badly or hurts you in some way you should talk to that person directly and alone. Don't call them out in front of everyone - or talk about it to everyone. Deal with the person directly. Then he goes on to offer next steps if that doesn't solve the problem.
The Gospel of Matthew doesn't tell us about what the disciples did, asked, or what prompted Jesus to say these things. It sure must have been interesting, though.
So, just what the heck is Jesus saying in this passage? Jesus gives us some sound and practical advice focused on making peace while still offering respect. Many people back then hated the tax collectors (and many still do) But Jesus called even the tax collectors to follow him and he went to their homes. Maybe Jesus is trying to tell us to not to give up on people. I am thinking this week about people I need to offer more grace and peace.