15 “If your brother or sister sins against you, go and correct them when you are alone together. If they listen to you, then you’ve won over your brother or sister. 16 But if they won’t listen, take with you one or two others so that every word may be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses.[b] 17 But if they still won’t pay attention, report it to the church. If they won’t pay attention even to the church, treat them as you would a Gentile and tax collector. 18 I assure you that whatever you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. And whatever you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven. 19 Again I assure you that if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” Matthew 18:15-20, CEB
One of the problems with Biblical instructions, as we say often, is that they often tell you what to do without telling you how to do it. That’s always the hardest part, isn’t it? I am in the middle of a week where I’m completely distressed by the version of Christianity I see on display in the media. I see a version of Christianity where people would rather tear others down than build them up. Where we would rather keep people out than let them in. Where we are afraid of others and view people who aren’t like us as threats rather than as beautifully diverse members of God’s creation.
Do we not realize this is what we’re doing?
If we talked to God and he told us specifically that we were doing these things, wouldn’t we be upset to know this about ourselves? That we were more concerned with protecting a specific definition of “safety” than living out the Gospel of open-armed mercy?
But God often doesn’t speak in a loud voice or a burning bush. He doesn’t often get that loud with his reminders. He gives us much freedom to sort these things out amongst ourselves.
How are we handling that responsibility?