If your Brother sins against You – Matthew 18 15 20 Commentary

1. Introductory prayer

I calm down and I feel the presence of God in me. I ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit to open the word of God, I accept it and allow it to fulfill my mission in me, in order to become more and more what I am in Holy Trinity. Then I ask God for this prayer, in my own words, or with those that are here…

“You are the guardian of your sister, your brother,” you tell me, Lord. Sometimes, however, it is easier to withdraw and endure injustices for the sake of loving peace. But you know that there is no peace like that, it is not a Christian attitude. Jesus also spoke to tax collectors and Gentiles. We are responsible for relationships, even with ourselves. Holy Spirit, please grant me the love for myself and for the people I live with. Please also give me the wisdom and courage to approach the person who injured me in your own way, so that I can fully heal myself and this person.

2. Reading – Listening: Dealing With Sin in the Church – If your Brother sins against you – Matthew 18 15 20 Commentary

Dealing With Sin in the Church

15 “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.

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16 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.’

17 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.

18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

See also:

3. Thoughts on the Gospel – Dealing With Sin in the Church – If your Brother sins against you – Matthew 18 15 20 Commentary

Jesus offers his disciples spiritual freedom and strength to re-establish broken or wounded relationships. When injustice happens to us, the first step is to speak directly to the one who has hurt us. One of the worst things we can do is stay in resentment. This can poison our mind and heart and make it even more difficult to directly approach the person who has hurt us.

If we really want to resolve a dispute or disagreement with someone, we need to do it face to face. If we fail, then the second step is to turn to someone who is wise and patient, benevolent, and non-judgmental. Such a man must be chosen in prayer, and mercy must be asked of him, that he may be able to help the perpetrator to see what has been done wrong, by what he has hurt us. And if that still fails, we should still not give up, but seek the help of the Christian community to re-establish a broken relationship. It is important that they pray for us and the perpetrator and seek a solution for forgiveness and reconciliation based on Christian love and wisdom.

But if even the Christian community fails to achieve reconciliation, what can we do? Jesus seems to be advising us to abandon the stubborn perpetrators of bad deeds and treat them as social outcasts. Tax collectors and pagans were considered “unclean” among the Jews. However, we know from the Gospels that Jesus often mingled with tax officials/tax collectors (as well as other public sinners), ate with them, and even praised them from time to time! Jesus does not reject or exclude anyone.

Jesus wants to free us from resentment, bad will, and unwillingness to forgive and reconcile. The love of Christ cleanses and frees us to do good to all as Heavenly Father (Matt. 5: 45-46) – even to those who hurt us, do us injustice, hurt us severely. The call to account for what we have done and what we have not, cannot escape: neither in this life nor on the day of judgment, when the Lord Jesus will finally return in His glory. So today we have the opportunity not to despair over praying for those who have hurt us. We ask the Holy Spirit to teach us the ways of forgiveness and reconciliation so that with His help we will be able to forgive and do our best to restore broken relationships. Let us allow him, together with Jesus, as His young, to be an instrument of His healing forgiving love, and peace. May He grant us the wisdom and courage to approach the people who have hurt us in His way, so that we can heal ourselves and them holistically.

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4. Meditation – thinking

About everything I have read and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:

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  • Being a Christian means constantly deepening on our daughterhood and sonship to taste the freedom of God’s children. In this freedom and love, I can step up to my fellows. If someone approached me to tell me something like a brother, how would I want him to approach me and address me?
  • We can speak to our brothers and sisters in love and freedom if we remain in the Father’s view. I take some time and invite the Father to look at me and the relationships I live with his gaze.
  • Who needs my prayer, so that I could connect with him in prayer in the coming days?

5. Personal Prayer

In the next moments of silence, I talk about this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God).

6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God

Now I let silence be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me. Perhaps from this silence, I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…

7. Action

When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving, and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action).

8. Prayer at the end

Jesus, you have shown and given us immeasurable strength that in love and faith we can open the way to change even where it hurts if we invite you to do so. Thank you.

9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection

This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:

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  • How was I feeling when I started praying?
  • What happened during the prayer?
  • What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
  • How did I feel with the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
  • What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others and me to him and others?
  • How did I finish my prayer?
  • What did I receive for my everyday life?
  • In the end, I can write the lessons, findings, and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
  • Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. With a prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.

Lectio Divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home – ignacijevdom.si

Text from the Bible – New International Version (NIV)