In the gospel, Jesus advises a progressive approach to conflict resolution in our relationships with others. Start with a private conversation, include others only in so far as it is necessary to establish the facts of the situation, include the broader community if the prior two steps have not worked, and have nothing to do with the person if everything fails. It is very practical advice and resonates with my own experience.
As I reflect today, it seems two very important concepts are at work in this advice. The first I phrase in the form of a question, what does love require? In any conflict situation I find myself most often unsure what to do or say. Answering this question gives me trusted guidance. The second is also best put in the form of a question, what is the truth of the matter? Truth can be tricky, from different angles it might mean different things to different people. Reasonable and loving people can disagree. And yet it is important to call out the truth as best we see it.
Let that dance between love and truth, informed by the Holy Spirit, guide us and our world as we work through the inevitable conflicts of life.
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.