“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.”
This verse from Matthew, I find to be one of the most challenging verses in scripture because it tells us a two fold thing about the way we communicate in the church.
One is that our communication should be a genuine relationship in which we speak with someone face-to-face about how their life is impacting others; we don’t live in a bubble, rather how we live does matter. And as the church we should push each other to live lives worthy of God.
The other thing is that this should be done not judgmentally but in an affirming manner. It seems like so much of our communication is actually gossip and slander. It is easier to speak about someone’s faults when they are not in the room. But Matthew’s passage challenges us to boldly meet with someone to help them see that we care about their lives.
This week a reporter for the Observer passed away, and I heard one friend describe him by saying, “David was not a yes-man, he would tell you what you did not want to hear. And that is why we were friends.” I appreciated that reflection because so often we want to be liked that we do not want to speak the truth. However, we are all so hungry to know the truth and to have friends that will challenge us. Genuine relationships are people committed to walking alongside each other as we stumble through life together.
This is what God desires of the church, a community that challenges one another in their faith journey, yet remains committed to each other when things getting messy.