Relationship Trumps Righteous Indignation (Twenty-fourth Ordinary)

At that point Peter had the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven”.
(Matthew 18: 21 – 22)

“Do you want to be right or do you want to be in relationship?” That was the question Catholic psychologist Sidney Callahan said a friend posed after an extended feud. It was a lesson in forgiveness.

Recently my sister and I came to an impasse following a small incident that we both viewed with much more intensity than it deserved. I thought my sister was being selfish and inconsiderate. She thought I was being unreasonable and controlling. After several heated conversations, it was obvious that we were not going to see eye to eye.

I really felt she owed me an apology before I could move on. At first I tried to gain the support of my husband and other family members. Surely they would see that I was right and that my sister needed to concede to my view of the situation. But spouse and siblings weren’t buying it. They said they we were both right and both wrong. I hate that!

I couldn’t just dive into work and ignore the riff. I wanted things to be back to normal between us – best buddies, confidants, creative springboards. But I had drawn a line and until an apology came, there would be no fence-mending. Then, one morning that question Sidney Callahan’s friend had asked came to mind, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be in relationship?” I knew what I had to do. I called my sister and told her I still wasn’t talking to her. And then we spent the next 20 minutes catching up on all we’d missed in the past week.

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