“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector."
Getting hurt by, annoyed by, or frustrated at people is a natural part of our fallen human condition. Everyone you live with, work with, and hang out with has the potential to, at minimum, rub you the wrong way at some point. The question is, how will you respond to that when it happens? It’s so easy to fall into the traps of lashing out or letting it fester and then “venting” (gossiping) about them behind their backs. Or maybe even avoiding the conflict altogether and just letting it build up inside you until you explode.
In today’s passage, Jesus is inviting us into healthier conflict resolution. Taking a deep breath, inviting the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts and words, (maybe stepping away for a moment to do that), and expressing your feelings calmly and objectively can literally be the difference between ruining a relationship and salvaging it. And ultimately becoming stronger. When communication is healthy, relationships are healthy. When relationships are healthy, we can be healthier people spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.