Fraternal Correction

Sometimes we ask ourselves what should I do, how should I proceed with my friend, brother or sister who is doing something that doesn’t please the Lord.

An attentive reading of the Gospel will establish the certainty of the facts: If your brother sins against you. Correction is in “regard to actions that we know are real, not about rumors. We also need to remember that the whole goal of this is the wellbeing of the other, not the desire to show how wrong they are and how righteous they are.

The Gospel proposes 3 steps to proceed.

Talk to him alone, talk to him with a group and finally tell the church. Talk to him alone: sometimes a talk with a person alone will help us to understand the facts, the intentions and sometimes a clarification of their actions. This will give them the opportunity to explain themselves without the embracement of the public. We need to remember that the goal is not expose the person, but to make them understand their sins. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.

Take one or two others along with you: Sometimes, it happens that the person doesn’t want to see their mistakes and sins. Other times, in their defense, they may think that they are not wrong, but affirm that we are the ones who are wrong. For that reason, the perspective and the presence of other will help to clarify the facts. The presence of others will also bring another approach to the way we say thing to the other person. Because even when affirmation is truth, maybe our own approach in not the best one.

 Finally, the authority. The gospel tells us that the last recourse is to inform the church. This last step is appealing to the authority. Considering that their action is beyond the person or persons who tell us about our wrong doing, affects the whole community and is something that offends God, whom the church is the repentant. Similar to the civil authorities who in some cases in which the denouncing of individuals is not enough for someone to change or accept his mistakes, it is necessary for the intervention of the competent authority.

Sometimes this fraternal correction is not so fraternal, and is not at all correction, because the intention is not to build but destroy.

We need to consider that in this fraternal correction, we might not be the best person to do it with a specific person, either because we are not so great to deliver or maybe because of our relationship with the person (good or bad) they will rather accept the correction if it would be from another person.

In all the cases, we need to consider that the rule of the fraternal correction is based on love, love that doesn’t want the death of the sinner but that he will convert and live. (cf. Ez 18:23).

-Fr. Sergio