A New Way of Looking

Matthew 18:
15"If your brother sins against you,[b] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'[c] 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

This semester, in my weekly Bible study we studied Biblical Peacemaking. Although I was out for much of it, one aspect of the study really stuck with me. It was on the scripture quoted above. Apparently I'd never read that part very closely because I'd always viewed peacemaking as the responsibility of the offending party and the victim as being passive--just sitting on the tuffet, waiting for reconciliation. Upon reading it, I was struck by the pro-active role the victim/offended should take in resolving the matter. If I've been sinned against, if I've been hurt, I have the responsibility of going to the person who caused the hurt. No sitting around having a pity party if I cannot overlook the sin.

Anecdotally this was brought home as I remembered a situation in my own life. I had a friend in college who I unknowingly offended. We were friends after the fact and I never knew I had hurt her until years later when another friend had just learned about it and told me. It was obvious even years later that she had not forgotten the injury and was still nursing the hurt. I, on the other hand, had gone on about life blissfully unaware that I had wronged her. Although it was unintentional and obviously not realized on my part, had she only told me years ago, I could have explained, we would have been reconciled (Lord-willing ) and she would not have spent the last seven years of so holding onto that grudge.

As I've been mulling over this, I have been doing some self-examination. Have I been hurt or sinned against in a way that I cannot overlook? Do I need to talk to anyone? I almost hesitate to share this for fear of all the folks I've offended coming out of the woodwork to let me know so we can reconcile! I really don't want to confront anyone who may have hurt me--it's so nice and "easy" to feed that demon weed grudge, but my goodness, how different would the church look if we were pro-active (and humbly gracious) about dealing with hurt and sin in this way?

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