The passage this morning from the Gospel of Matthew presents us with an action plan for mending broken relationships that often result from a lack of attention to our Christian responsibilities.
If someone has wronged us, the disciple of Jesus immediately addresses the offender with every intention of reconciliation. Holding a grudge for any length of time is ludicrous in the mind of a Christian because it is in fact lying not only to the offender but to others around us.
If we feel someone has wronged us we should speak to the offender personally. Talking behind a person’s back, no matter how evil this person is perceived to be, is never a holy thing. The direct approach is open and honest; it is the only way reconciliation can truly happen. As disciples we believe that authentic reconciliation with God and each other is possible and indeed mandated by Jesus in the Gospel.
Certainly, if this personal communication fails, we understand the need to bring in a trustful but impartial third party to facilitate a conversation. The meaning of this Gospel passage is to highlight the importance for the Christian of reconciliation, and the building of a solid human community based on unity, love and hope for a better Kingdom with God.
The Risen life compels us to examine how we deal with others, especially those who harm us in some way. It asks us to examine how we love our enemies. It can be a cross for us but one that can transform our reconciliation into a moment of grace and increased holiness.