Contemplating Jesus

WHAT’S RIGHT WHEN WRONGED

Posted on by Lucinda M. Vardey

Even though Jesus preached a non-violent and non-retributive response to others’ judgments or hurtful acts, he offered sound suggestions on how to heal relationships and promote justice and peace.    For instance, in Matthew 18:15 -18, he provides ways and means to confront wrongdoing within community (which today could include friends, family, associates and others).  Jesus asks for courage to be clear and truthful when sinned against by another, to first point out the fault to the person alone in private. If the person listens to you, your relationship is restored.  However, if you are not heard, Jesus says you take one or two witnesses along with you.   If that doesn’t work, you involve the whole community, and if the offender still refuses to listen, then Jesus says your relationship with that person is over.

With zero tolerance for offences against another, Jesus requests resolution before anything else.  In Matthew 5:21-26 he suggests healing rifts with others before going to worship.    He also doesn’t believe in long, drawn-out legal proceedings to resolve conflict.  Instead, he says, we have to come to terms with our accuser “quickly” – in other words before the fissure in relationship breaks beyond repair.  Jesus suggests we keep well away from courts, for if it gets that far we are liable to lose everything including our savings.

Jesus’ points are clear: that wrongdoing needs to be held accountable; that the process of accountability needs to be swiftly undertaken and that prolonging any closure damages the prospects for peace.

In summary, the longer one waits to restore equilibrium, the harder it is to achieve.   The power of Truth can only be unleashed through honest encounter and an unsullied desire for rapid conciliation.

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