This week we move onto the second of our covenant points: We will quickly enter into a reconciliation process with one another where there are hurts, offences and differences
The chapter in Matthew we are reading through this time is often referred to as the Discipleship Discourse. In other words, this chapter deals with how believers grow in Christ and relate to one another in the body of Christ. Discipleship can be seen as an individual exercise lived out only in spiritual practices. That may indeed be part of becoming a disciple, but individual faith must grow in relationship to other believers.
Our reading is a bit confronting as it outlines what happens when we cause someone to stumble, and it is not pretty. At the beginning of verse 6 Jesus is referring back to his previous words about being a child. If we are to be as Jesus hopes, like a child and believing in him, as well as nurturing that belief in those around us, we need to take seriously the task to guard and protect others from stumbling, praying that they will do the same for us.
Unfortunately, it can be really easy to cause a sibling in Christ to stumble. A word taken the wrong way, a misunderstanding, a different way of looking at something or even an action that is unclear can all cause someone to stumble, to question, to feel hurt. We all do it, and we all react to things, sometimes we react really badly.
Next week when we move into our third covenant point we will heard from Matthew 18:21. This verse also fits here. Peter asks how many times do you forgive a sibling if they sin against you? Jesus’ answer is seventy-seven times. In other words, as many times as you need, there is no limit. This is reconciliation. Repairing a relationships, recognising that there are hurts, offences and differences, and taking time to understand that. And we need to do this quickly so that hurt and anger don’t fester and colour every connection we have with that person or people.
Reconciliation is an interesting word. It doesn’t mean that all is ok and any wrong is erased. Reconciliation is the process of coming to an amicable understanding, a truce, an acceptance. Reconciliation is a setting aside of our hurts, offences and differences. Not easy, but something we must learn to do so that we can stay in good relationship and care for each other.