My family . . . the blessings of my life!

My family . . . the blessings of my life!
Sean, Mackenzie, Pat (hubby), me, Jeneah

Sunday, September 4, 2011

BIG MOUTH (reflection)

"If your brother should commit some wrong against you, go and point out his fault, but keep it between the two of you." –Matthew 18:15

If we have been wronged, it's absolutely essential to keep it to ourselves. Only after having talked to the other person are we free to bring someone else into the situation or refer it to the Church (Mt 18:16-17). However, many times we sin by telling someone about the problem before we should. Our conversation sometimes even deteriorates into gossip and slander. These sins are major catastrophes even if the other person doesn't know it. After we have ruined the Lord's process of reconciliation through sinful conversation and/or gossip, what do we do?
  1. Go to Confession as soon as possible. You must admit you have sinned and receive God's forgiveness.
  2. Pray for the strength not to sin again, and ask the Lord to turn your forgiven sins to the good (Rm 8:28).
  3. Apologize to the person with whom you spoke.
  4. If the person you talked about is aware of your sin, you must apologize and seek forgiveness.
  5. Make reparation. Ask the Lord what He would have you do to repair the damage you've done.
  6. Proceed with the three steps of reconciliation of Matthew 18:15ff.
The above reflection is from One Bread, One Body, (click HERE)



*NOTE* - Emphasis. Comment.


SCRIPTURE - From today's Gospel: A Brother Who Sins.
15 “If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.

16
If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

In this Gospel the rules / guidelines are clearly laid out for us to follow when someone sins against us.

The most important step for us to remember to do *before* going to the brother who has sinned against us, is to put on the heart of Christ. Not of this world that tells us to live "I'm right and you're wrong." Simply put on the heart of Christ and go to the one who has sinned against you. Speak to them in truth, but also with a heart that is willing to forgive.

Step 1:
“If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
This step isn't easy...in part because it asks of us to put on the heart and mind of Christ *before* we go to the one who has sinned against us. Difficult, yes. Impossible, no.

*Now* we're ready for Step 1.
Taking the steps to meet with (or at least talk with) the one who has sinned against us. Difficult, yes. But then again, *these* are clearly the steps our Lord has given us to take when we are wronged. Step 1 then has two possible outcomes...

Optional outcome #1 -
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
Whew. Great. Reconciliation. Good job, *both* of you.

Optional outcome #2 -
If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.'
WOW. You mean now I must attempt to get an understanding between us after this brother has wronged me AND not listened when I tried talking alone. Now, Lord, you want me to continue seeking reconciliation?
And what steps am I to follow?
A. Put back on the heart & mind of Christ (if you lost it after Step 1 failed).
B. Get one or two to go along with me to attempt (for the 2nd time) with this brother who sinned against me AND didn't listen the first time I tried.

Again, this is clearly what the Lord asks of us when we are wronged. Difficult steps of dying to self, but obviously these steps are what the Lord is asking of us.

Step 2 has two possible outcomes:
Not repeated in Scripture but understood:

Optional Outcome #1:
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
Optional Outcome #2:
If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

WOW. This sounds so harsh. And so 'politically incorrect' -- yet this is what Christ is clearly telling us. There are times where you must cut your ties to the brother who has sinned against you. This does *not* mean you hate this brother...No. You continue to pray for him. But you do not keep putting yourself in 'harms way' for this person to continue sinning against you.


Now, though, let's take a closer look at gossip and slander that often happen when one sins against another.
However, many times we sin by telling someone about the problem before we should. Our conversation sometimes even deteriorates into gossip and slander. These sins are major catastrophes even if the other person doesn't know it.

Gossip and slander are MAJOR CATASTROPHES. WOW.

Since there is obviously confusion on what exactly gossip is let's begin with the definition:
{definition 1}
c
: a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others

a : rumor or report of an intimate nature
b
: a chatty talk

{definition 2}
1.
casual and idle chat to have a gossip with a friend
2. a conversation involving malicious chatter or rumours about other people a gossip about the neighbours
3. Also called gossipmonger a person who habitually talks about others, esp maliciously

It seems to me that there are a few reasons that gossip ends up being sinful.

  • Chatty talk about another (unnecessary)
  • Sensationalized talk about another
  • Malicious talk about another
I have encountered people who just do not understand that "even when stating the truth" IS GOSSIP. True.

Even among spouses, chatty/unnecessary talk can be sinful...
Even if the discussion is of a 'truthful' nature.

Is it necessary?

Is there malice in your heart?

Are you sensationalizing?


Gossip, today, is practically unrecognizable. Why? Because people talk...unceasingly.
{disclaimer}
And yes, this is coming from ME, who can keep up with the best talkers in the world {big grin}. I even cheered when I first heard our much-loved friend, Andres, say about himself, "Talking is my sport" Why? Because for the first time I then had a sport! HA HA.


People talk unceasingly. Talk shows abound, and to make matters worse people *thrive* on the endless talk. Talk about harmless things, i.e., recipes, cooking, decorating, etc. Harmless, but unceasing. Talk, talk, talk.

What's the problem with the unceasing talk?

No silence. No quiet. No slowing down to spend time with the Lord. Often, people talk & talk & talk to avoid spending time in silence, alone with themselves, and alone with the Lord. If you are unhappy with yourself it is too difficult to spend time in silence. Therefore, you talk unceasingly.

And as my mom taught me, I try to teach my children... If a friend is gossiping *to* you, you can pretty much count that they will gossip *about* you as well.

Also considering the unceasing talk on TV & radio. What's the problem? Let's take for instance the ones that pride themselves on 'airing dirty laundry'. These shows not only talk non-stop, but due to their very nature, they tend to make a society that is addicted to gossip, and even worse is that they become somewhat *immune* to 'dirty laundry'.

People are addicted to this. They can't seem to live without their talk shows. Why could this be a bad thing?

They are being fed constant *chatter* (even if it is true).
They are listening to *sensationalized* talk (even if it is in part true).
They are listening to chatter with *malice* or an *agenda*.
ALL OF THESE EQUAL GOSSIP. When people consistently listen to the 'dirty laundry' of others, they become somewhat immune to gossip, sensationalism, slander, idle chat, etc.

Why would we want to add gossip to our lives by listening to it?

What's the problem with gossip?
Let's go back to the problem when someone sins against us. And *gossip* enters the picture before (during or after) we follow the steps outlined in Scripture.
However, many times we sin by telling someone about the problem before we should. Our conversation sometimes even deteriorates into gossip and slander. These sins are major catastrophes even if the other person doesn't know it.

Gossip and slander are major catastrophes! But they are practically unrecognizable in our society today because people talk constantly about others. And they don't see that they are sinning. We need to look carefully and with *Holy Glasses* (eyes of Christ) and carefully look at our talk. Ask ourselves...Is it useless chatter? Am I sensationalizing? Is there malice in my heart?

So back to the original reflection and the connection to *gossip*

"If your brother should commit some wrong against you, go and point out his fault, but keep it between the two of you." –Matthew 18:15 (*NOTE* 'keep it between the two of you.)

If we have been wronged, it's absolutely essential to keep it to ourselves. Only after having talked to the other person are we free to bring someone else into the situation or refer it to the Church (Mt 18:16-17). However, many times we sin by telling someone about the problem before we should. Again, we're a society that's fed "talk, talk, talk" just like the talk shows, go and seek out if you are right or wrong. Our conversation sometimes even deteriorates into gossip and slander. Telling the truth, yes, can be gossip and slander. The Word of God clearly tells us to keep the matter between the two of you. These sins are major catastrophes even if the other person doesn't know it. God's word calls us to try to reconcile with the one who has sinned against us. If this person is open and docile to Christ, they then become aware of their sinfulness -- not so you can gloat -- but so that they can find sorrow and be reconciled to Christ (and to you). After we have ruined the Lord's process of reconciliation through sinful conversation and/or gossip, what do we do? Great advice below!
  1. Go to Confession as soon as possible. You must admit you have sinned and receive God's forgiveness.
  2. Pray for the strength not to sin again, and ask the Lord to turn your forgiven sins to the good (Rm 8:28).
  3. Apologize to the person with whom you spoke.
  4. If the person you talked about is aware of your sin, you must apologize and seek forgiveness.
  5. Make reparation. Ask the Lord what He would have you do to repair the damage you've done.
  6. Proceed with the three steps of reconciliation of Matthew 18:15ff.
Matthew 18:15 -17
“If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. 16 If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

*NOTE* - Emphasis. Comment.


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Dedication to Jesus
Lord Jesus Christ, take away my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will. All that I have and cherish you have given me. I surrender it all to be guided by your will. Your love and your grace are wealth enough for me. Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more. Amen.
St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

St. Teresa of Avila
“For mental prayer…is nothing more than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much…Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything.”

St. Thérèse of Lisieux
"...So I sought in holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: 'Whosoever is a little one, come to me.' It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up; I must stay little and become less and less."

Magnificat
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.