Reflecting on Matthew 18: 15-20
The whole idea is just icky, isn’t it? If I’m hurt that my friend had coffee with our mutual friend and didn’t include me, I’m supposed to go to her and say, like a big baby, “You hurt my feelings”? I’d rather do almost anything else.
In fact, I WILL do anything else. I’ll be distant and aloof next time I see her. And, yeah, I’ll probably say something to a third friend along the lines of, “Some friends are less loyal than others.” Then I’ll just have to tell her how my friend invited me for coffee and then canceled and then went with the other friend instead.
See what just happened there? A tiny, perfectly understandable get-together between two friends became an occasion of pain for―let’s just say it―an overly sensitive third friend, who then escalated things by setting up an emotionally confusing distance and, finally, telling an out-and-out lie about the original offense.
Has anyone ever actually tried doing what the gospel requires when it comes to conflict between friends? Imagine this: I go to my friend and say, “I can’t believe that at my age I can still feel jealous about these things, but I felt hurt when you got together with ___ and didn’t include me.” Then she will probably say, “No! Really? I feel horrible. I hadn’t seen ___since her dad’s death and I wanted to have a chance to reconnect. I love spending time with you. Can we schedule something?”
I’ll bet you anything that a conversation that starts out feeling icky ends up feeling lovely. And nobody ended up in court or anything. Let’s all remember this scenario as the family holidays approach.
Have you ever peacefully approached a friend about something you felt “icky” about?
Kathy McGovern ©2017