Gospels are so helpful!
Jesus is a religious leader. He gathers followers. He still does. We are among them. In his wisdom about human nature, he made far-seeing provision for his followers’ life together. There would be problems – about leadership, facing opposition from other authorities, marriage, money, many things. St Paul had to go on into finer detail about these, as experience was gained.
Talk frankly with the ‘offender’. You may find that what you heard is untrue. It’s malicious gossip, or some silly misunderstanding. No? It’s true! Do your best then, to convince him, he is in the wrong, and must change his ways. You may manage to put him right. If not, then you must bring others in to hear the whole story. If you find, that they agree, that he is in the wrong; and even that doesn’t change his mind, then it’s to be brought before the congregation, I’m afraid. And if the feeling of everyone, that he is in the wrong, won’t convince him, there must be something very wrong with him.
Jesus goes on to say some very strange things – and we must listen carefully. What we decide is so important, that it may count ‘in heaven’ – ‘with God’ – and ‘for ever’. That will make us very careful about what we decide.
Photograph by Fr Lawrence Lew OP of a sculpture of monks exchanging a sign of peace.