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Win a Brother

August 11, 2020
August 12, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: Win a Brother
Disagreements or misunderstandings will always be part of our community life. There’s no such thing as a perfect community. Looking for one is like looking for an impossible dream. As long as we live in this imperfect life with imperfect people, plus the never-ending desire of the evil spirit to destroy our family or community, we shall continue hurting and wounding each other because of our sins, selfishness, and immaturity. There’s the rub! What makes the community beautiful and consoling is not only because we don’t hurt each other, but because we have learned to forgive one another, which is basically a manifestation of God’s love that binds us together.
The gospel today emphasizes the importance of UNITY IN SPIRIT in our family or community. The Lord assures us of His presence in our midst every time we are gathered in His name. There is strength in unity and the devil knows it. Thus, the evil spirit would always take advantage of misunderstandings, wrongdoings, disagreements, and hurtful feelings to destroy the community spirit. The weakest link in our “union of.hearts” would always be the disposition or attitude of NON-DIALOGUE. Our decision not to talk to someone because he or she is hopeless or irritating is the beginning of darkness in the community. Thus, dialogue, fraternal correction, and prayerful discernment are necessary to restore or preserve the unity in our community.
Consider the following points for your reflection on the necessity of winning a brother or sister back in the community:
1. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT COMMUNITY. We need to remind ourselves always that no one is perfect. The community is for the formation and protection of all members. It is not a group of holy people but sinners called by God to love another. Thus, expect misunderstandings, disagreements, and sins to challenge our commitment to love one another unconditionally.
“No one is righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10)
2. DIALOGUE IS THE ONLY WAY TO FRATERNAL CORRECTION. The only road to reconciliation and forgiveness is sincere dialogue. Dialogue is not a confrontation but a desire to understand our brother who wronged us. Knowing his perspective brings enlightenment. Dialogue is not merely to judge someone, but to understand why he did such evil acts or wrongdoing.
“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.” (Matthew 18:15)
3. PRIVATE DIALOGUE COUNTS A LOT. We don’t want to gang up against someone wronged us. When a fraternal correction is done in private, we feel secured. We tend to put down our “fighting mode” to defend ourselves and dispose of us to listen. Our goal is to win a brother and not to condemn it. As Paul would say, ” My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.” (Galatians 6:1). When fraternal correction is done in private, we feel love and gentleness, not condemnation and hatred.
“You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:17-18).
4. AN OBJECTIVE VIEW COULD HELP. When our private conversation is not working, we are invited to call for the help of others who can give us an objective perspective. The goal is to allow others to help us seek the truth and not merely correct someone. A different perspective from someone who is mature in faith can guide us. Emotions could be very tricky when the dialogue between two people ends in confrontation.
“But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” (Matthew 18:16).
5. PRAYER HELPS. After the dialogue, listening, and gathering of facts, it is important that the community should bring matters to the Lord. Discernment of spirits counts a lot when searching for the truth. Prayerful moments in the community bring enlightenment, healing, and forgiveness. We need the Holy Spirit to heal our hearts, to allow us to see our faults and shortcomings, and to forgive each other from our sins.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18).
In correcting our brother or sister, the love of God must be the foundation of our actions. We remember the words of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Reflection: How do you correct someone in your family or community? Is it done in the spirit of judgment or fraternal correction? Is your aim to win him or her back? Are you ready to listen to him or her to understand her side?
– Pitik-Bulag

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