Reflecting on Matthew 18:15-20
I friend of mine, the mother of two young adults, once said this: I think my kids love to watch “Friends” because the characters in that television show openly confront each other (hilariously, of course) and don’t have any hidden resentments. But in real life nobody really relates that way, and so my kids leave all kinds of things unsaid, even with each other. They were so much closer when they were kids, before they learned to hide their feelings.
It’s true, isn’t it? The challenges of social interactions are so great that many conversations never happen, and decades-long resentments are never voiced, which means true intimacy is never approached.
Jesus knows a thing or two about intimacy, and gives us this bold suggestion: just open your mouth and say what’s on your mind. Now, this is very risky. Chances are great that the person whom you want to be closer to, but can’t because of whatever it is that’s bothering you, will listen respectfully, thank you for your “feedback”, and then check you off their list of their most intimate friends because they are inwardly seething.
And that’s where God’s words to Cain, sick with jealousy of his brother Abel, come in handy: Why are you angry? If you act rightly, you will be accepted; but if not, sin lies in wait at the door: its urge is for you, yet you can rule over it (Gen. 4:7).
At moments of great grace, sin crouches at the door. Honesty is agonizing, but no great marriage or community ever thrived without it.
Have you ever had the grace to let a friend know that you have been hurt by them?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).