There comes a time in almost every relationship when you have to decide if it’s worth fighting for, because if you’re fighting, at least you’re engaging. The end is certain when one party gives up on the other and disengages.
Matthew’s Gospel was written for a community in flux. They were mostly Jewish Christians exiled from their Jewish communities and now were trying to figure out how to be their own community with the growing number of Gentiles becoming disciples—something not all readily welcomed.
This chapter is a kind of community handbook for how to approach disagreements in a way that kept community members engaged in the well-being of each person among them.For even when all avenues toward reconciliation with our sister or brother are exhausted, we are called treat them as Jesus treated Gentiles and tax collectors. That is, we keep caring for them. Click To Tweet
In Christ, every member of this new community—this ekklesia or “church”—is worth the effort when there is a rift, as seen in the preceding parable of the one lost sheep. The long, systematic process in today’s Gospel passage is not merely for the resolution or absence of conflict but for the complete restoration and healing of the community . . . in God’s time.
For even when all avenues toward reconciliation with our sister or brother are exhausted, we are called treat them as Jesus treated Gentiles and tax collectors. That is, we keep caring for them, for nothing is lost with God, and God will never give up on any of us.