I’m re-reading Matthew right now. Was pretty amazed in a study I did last Sunday in “Life Rules” class on forgiveness. I studied Mt 18, where it tells us what to do “if thy brother shall trespass against thee”. So you first confront him alone. If the dirty bum won’t listen, you find someone who agrees with you and the two of you buttonhole him. If that doesn’t work, you drag the church into it, and if he won’t listen, you and the whole church “throw the bum out!” There!
Except that when you read Mt 18 as a whole, that’s not it at all. Good grief! This is the chapter where the shepherd leaves 99 nice compliant sheep in the fold and searched high and low for the wayward one! This is the chapter of “the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. “! Just before the “if thy brother shall trespass against thee…” passage, Jesus says “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” Then he says “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass…”; so He isn’t changing the subject. THEN he tells Peter that if his brother sins against him 70X7 times, he should forgive him!
SO! In light of the whole chapter, I think Mt 18 is less talking about dragging your lousy brother in front of the church so you can get your way, and a lot more about trying your best to reconcile with him. It is not all about me! (oh…)