Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reflection: Matthew 18:15-20

Wednesday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time – Matthew 18:15-20

In this Gospel, Jesus challenges his disciples: “If your brother or sister sins against you, you should go and talk with them about the situation.” Now ask yourself: What is your typical reaction when someone sins against you? Do you ignore them? Do you take some time to decide how you want to respond? Or do you nurse your anger or hurt? Do you retaliate in like manner?

Most of us developed and honed our personal response to being sinned against at a very young age. We didn’t even know we were developing a personal response. We may have modeled our response on how our parents responded in these types of situations. We may have learned how to manipulate others. Or we simply may have decided to keep our distance from the individuals who sinned against us (if that was an option). Or perhaps you were taught to talk with the person who had sinned against you and work it out?

Now take a moment and ask yourself: Today how do I respond when another person sins against me? Is my response different from when I was a child? Or is my reaction basically the same as when I was an 8-year old or a 14-year old? The reality is that our instinctive (and automatic) responses are developed at a very young age, perhaps even beginning while we are still in the womb. These responses become so automatic in our childhood that we may not consciously be aware of them.

Today may be a good day to ask ourselves: how do I respond when I feel sinned against by another? Do we bind another to us with our anger or resentment? Or do we “loose the other person” by striving to “let the hurt, anger or jealousy go” by talking with the individual? The gift is we can always change our automatic responses to certain situations. It typically takes a concerted effort. It is so easy to slip back into old patterns.

Ask yourself: Do you wish to change your automatic response? It is possible to do if we keep alert and mindful. However, it may take us several weeks or perhaps even months. However, if we choose to do this, then we have a conscious choice to make. We may begin to realize that we are happier and freer. In this process we not only may have freed the individual who sinned against us, we also may have freed ourselves from the pain, anger and hurt that we have been carrying.

Today, ask yourself: what is the pain, hurt and frustration that I am carrying? Am I ready to let it go? I pray you are!

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