Sunday, May 13: If your brother or sister sins
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 18:15-17
"If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector."
This passage has an interesting recent history among Christians within our culture. Usually, when we hear about it at all, it's a bit like Grandma's best china: It's only put on the table for special occasions, like when the "sinner" in question is a public figure, or when the confronters judge the sin to be a "major" one. Yet the passage itself, especially at the beginning, seems to more about everyday conflicts among friends.
Jesus' words also create discomfort because most of us have little, or more likely, no experience talking to a peer about something they've done wrong, or at least that we've perceived them to. Why is this so hard for us? Is there anything that could make it easier? What sorts of situations do you think Jesus has in mind here?