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When Relationships Break Down

Matthew 18:15-20

It is never an easy task to correct someone or to challenge their behaviour unless it is so

blind fully obvious, and something must be said. As a church community we cannot turn a blind eye to actions contrary to our Christian identity or paper over serious disagreements or resentments. We have done so in the past and will continue to be doing ourselves a grave disservice if we continue to do so. We need structures and protocols in place to deal with all kinds of moral transgression and injuries caused.

Sometimes however, people don’t even know they have offended; sometimes it can be a personality clash or temperament issue and Christian charity calls us to do all we can to attempt to get on and be civil with each other.

Mutual love invites us to examine our own behaviours and to be realistic about ourselves. None of us is perfect. If someone has plucked up the courage to approach us personally with a concern about our behaviour, the mature response is to listen in humility and engage in adult to adult dialogue. I may not like it, but I certainly appreciate things concerning me shared in a safe and respectful way rather than by an aggressive approach or heavy handedness. I think we are more open to change and to growth that way. Jesus is also encouraging us to pray about these issues before we act. Things done under his influence will always be blessed.

Obviously, there are varying degrees of wrongdoing which require varying degrees of response. Usually if possible, it is much better to deal with a problem when and where it happens before appealing to a higher authority. If the problem can be dealt with simply without fuss, everyone saves face. Sometimes small things can be blown out of proportion. Christian charity does call us to consider a person’s feelings and self-respect.

Our Gospel today includes that famous line ‘where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’ Disagreements and resentments that fester away and go unaddressed dishonour that presence. Because he is with us, all our efforts at genuine reconciliation are an anticipation of what we hope for and will enjoy in the fullness of the kingdom. We are participating in enabling his kingdom to come here and now.

Earlier this week we began the ‘Season of Creation’ which concludes on the feast of St Francis of Assisi on October 4th. The material from the ‘Season of Creation’ website states that

Amid crises that have shaken our world, we’re awakened to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation and each other. We enter a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, that requires radically new ways of living with creation.

Listen to ‘Be Mindful’ from ‘There is no Distance’

There’s a dream our planets dreaming of

Sing and dance her dream upon the earth

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