Correct One Another with Love

Fr Antonio Pineda
Assistant Parish Priest

This Sunday’s gospel is a lovely reading because Jesus asks us to be responsible for one another. This entails confronting and correcting one another with love when necessary. Not to confront is condoning the wrong and sharing the guilt. But what is the Christian way of correcting people? Jesus offers this procedure: 1) Speak privately to the person. 2) Bring two or three others to help with the situation. 3) Bring it to the Church. If this procedure fails, then Jesus says, “…treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.”

The first and most important point to mention in this process of reconciliation is that we should keep the sin of another quiet, between them and us, until we have tried our best to reconcile. But this is not always easy because so often it is tempting to tell others when someone hurts us. When this happens, let us remember that Jesus is telling us that the sins another commits against us are not details we have a right to tell others about, at least not at first.

The next important steps offered by Jesus do involve others and the Church but not so that we can express our anger, gossip or criticism or to bring them public humiliation. Rather, the steps of involving others are done so to assist another to repent, so that the person in error sees the gravity of the sin. This takes humility on our part. It requires a humble attempt to help them not only see their error but to also change. The final step, if they do not change, is to treat them like a Gentile or tax collector. This does not mean condemning or giving up on them but to treat them with continued respect and a desire for their conversion and, at the same time, acknowledge that we are not “on the same page.”