Toni and I were out walking at Collinwood this afternoon. Among other things we were talking about how God wants us to go to others to let them know when we feel they have "sinned against us." That was the gospel for today.
I've often thought that the hardest part was to actually do that, but Toni had another take on it. She talked about how it's incomplete without a focus on forgiveness. That needs to be the goal of those hard conversations: forgiveness and reconciliation.
How true! And, in God's wisdom, the next scripture passage in Matthew 18 is all about forgiveness - how often someone can sin and ask for forgiveness before we give up on that person. Jesus answer is that there's never an end.
Sometimes there does need to be separation for awhile. Nevertheless, the final goal is always the renewal of the relationship. Sometimes that can't happen in this life. But too often we give up too soon.