Just the Way It Is?

Read Matthew 18:10-20

We seem pretty happy with our divisions sometimes.  Whether it be politics or ideology, economic class, and even in religion it seems we are pretty happy to sit on our side of the fence so we can throw stones at another.  It has become acceptable in our culture to dislike others and even hate them and to be happy about that.  That's just the way it is.

Jesus says that it's not acceptable to allow that to become just the way it is.  We are not allowed, as those who follow him, to just dismiss people as enemies.  It is not acceptable for us to hate another and to stay on my side of the argument.  In the same way a shepherd must go after one sheep who has wandered, we too are not entitled to just ignore another human being as an enemy and as one we just can't deal with.  Human beings are not disposable.

Jesus gives specific instructions in how to deal with someone we are having a problem with.  Notice what it doesn't say.  It doesn't say ignore the matter.  It doesn't say choose sides and see how many people you can get on yours so you can defeat your enemy.  It doesn't say to marginalize the other and hate them until they relent.

One of the most quoted verses in all of Christian scripture is "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (vs. 20)  It's NOT often understood that these words are spoken by Jesus as a means to reconciliation.  They are not the assurance that when I gather together with people that are just like me, and that share all my political ideals and religious views, then Jesus is among us.  Instead, the mandate seems to demand that when I reconcile with someone who I have a deep division with and find a way to live together and work together even with people I don't like, then Jesus is among us.

I wonder if our witness to Jesus and the reconciliation of His presence is something our culture needs to hear now more than ever in our politics, our economic classes and even in our religions?  


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