Pastor’s Letter: September 10, 2023

Pastor’s Letter: September 10, 2023

Pastor’s Letter: September 10, 2023

8 Sep 2023 | Posted by: chadmin

Dear friend,

Jesus gives us one of the most important lessons about human relations. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you.” While not every conflict in life requires confrontation, our core relationships in life do require clear and direct communication. Jesus makes it clear that we are to directly communicate to the person who has committed the offense. This may win over the other to understanding with apology and forgiveness. Direct communication is supposed to come before gossip or sharing the issue with others. Many of us like to process life events with a trusted person prior to confronting a situation, but Jesus does invite us to be direct. We have all learned that one conversation doesn’t always reach agreement or flush out all the details of a conflict. Sometimes it takes one or two others to help us explain the situation or to illustrate the gravity of the situation. In this situation, Jesus is still encouraging us to be direct with the offending person. If agreement can’t be reached, Jesus invites us to seek spiritual guidance and help from the Church and only if that doesn’t work to treat the person as a Gentile or tax collector, meaning it would be best for us and them to not have direct interaction.

There are times in life when a particular individual or situation cannot continue in our lives. It is not good for a recovering alcoholic to spend time hanging around in a bar. The Gospel of Matthew was written largely to the Jewish community. So many of the passages are written to explain the words of Jesus to the Jewish mindset. The Gentile or the tax collector in the First Century Jewish world was not one you shared time. You would remove that person from your life for fear that the bad behavior or failed understanding of God would rub off on your own beliefs. Jesus takes this cultural notion and gives us the freedom to remove people or situations from our lives, as long as it’s done in charity. Love or charity does not necessitate that others get what they want. It requires us to want what is best for the other, even if distance is the best option. Sometimes what is best for someone else, and what is best for us, is to remove the person from our lives. While this can be an extreme example, we are all products of our families, our relationships, and our environments. It is important that we are all making daily decisions about what is best for our path toward heaven.

When we think of communicating directly with others, the Lord wants to challenge us to speak truth in a way that maintains love for the other. As St. Paul said to the Romans, “Love does no evil to the neighbor.” Evil takes ones freedom away. Evil causes divisions. Evil is inward directed instead of self-offering. As we seek to grow in our humanity, Jesus invites us to think about truth, speak what we think, and listen for the truth in the other. No relationship, outside of the Trinity, is perfect; but, we can all advance in authentically communicating truth directly to others, no matter the fear or consequence. May the Lord help us to maintain peace in our hearts, while living in truth with one another.

God bless,

Father David