"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?
- Go to Confession as soon as possible. You must admit you have sinned and receive God's forgiveness.
- Pray for the strength not to sin again, and ask the Lord to turn your forgiven sins to the good (Rm 8:28).
- Apologize to the person with whom you spoke.
- If the person you talked about is aware of your sin, you must apologize and seek forgiveness.
- Make reparation. Ask the Lord what He would have you do to repair the damage you've done.
- Proceed with the three steps of reconciliation of Matthew 18:15ff.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, empower me to be without fault in speech (Jas 3:2).
Promise: "Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another. He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law." —Rm 13:8
Praise: Praise Jesus, Who constantly taught us to forgive, even when hanging from His cross. Praise You, Lord of mercy and forgiveness!
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 1, 2011
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