Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
This week’s gospel tackles one of the trickiest things for many of us. How to say something we don’t want to say to someone who needs to hear it.
Some want a script.
Tell me what to say.
Some want the courage.
Tell me that I actually can do this.
Some want to know what’s right.
Tell me I’m really supposed to say this.
Some want rules.
Tell me when I’m supposed to say it.
What Jesus describes, however, is the dance of relationship. It isn’t just a how-to guide. It shows how delicate and relational our lives are.
We too often conceive of sin as individual behavior. And many of us too often see ourselves as policing the behavior of others. And some see counterculture as the nature of sin—as a fundamental damage to the community.
What we see from Jesus, however, is a sense of discretion and care, encouragement and support. And when this is met with stubbornness, we are to change the way we see them: as one we welcome rather than one we know.
This doesn’t directly help us know how or when to say hard things. Just that hard things sometimes need to be said. And further, that sometimes those things aren’t ready to be heard. And still further, that the source of separation isn’t the sin or our talking about the sin, but that we can’t get on the same page. And getting on the same page may take time. And help.