Reconciliation Might Follow Forgiveness
We need to obey when He tells us to mend our human relationships, just as Jesus mended our relationship with God.
"And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him." (2 Corinthians 5:18).
When Gina was in grade school, another girl, Emma, was often mean to her. After they had gone their separate ways, Gina chose to forgive Emma, in obedience to God. But since they now lived in different towns, they had no chance to restore their relationship.
I don’t think God wants us to leave things unfinished like that. Jesus said, " If you are presenting a gift [to God] and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God" (Matthew 5:23-24). We should follow His model, being "compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love" (Psalm 103:8). So we want to obey when He tells us to mend our human relationships, just as Jesus mended our relationship with God. After all, "He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. … God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’" (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).
It turns out that God was waiting for Emma to “come back.” About 20 years after graduation, the women met again – at a Christian music concert! Sometime during those two decades, Emma had found salvation through Christ. When they saw each other, she jumped at the chance to be reconciled with Gina. God’s promise that “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person” (2 Corinthians 5:17) was evident in Emma’s life. Gina and Emma, once enemies, were now sisters in Christ. They embraced and rejoiced together in their common salvation. Similarly, we all were “God’s enemies,” but “we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10). And we can make peace with each other, because through Christ, “God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in Heaven and on earth” (Colossians 1:20).
Prayer, Care and Share Jesus
Reconciliation happens when people who were in conflict with each other ask and receive forgiveness from each other.
This action frees them to move forward in God's purposes and plans.
The most wonderful example of reconciliation is that of God reconciling us to Himself through Christ. Even greater news is that God gives you and me, as believers, the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). Oh wow! "Thank You Lord!"
In the Prayer, Care and Share guide, you can see how important it is that we forgive those who wrong us, just as God forgave us in Christ (Ephesians 4:32).
It is possible to forgive those who have offended us without speaking to them. However, reconciliation can only happen when we forgive one another in person. If the wrongdoer is dead, unreachable or unknown, we must simply trust God with the situation.
Carefully seek God's guidance about approaching someone who has wronged you. It is possible, when you tell someone you have forgiven them and are seeking reconciliation, that they could abuse you again! Seeking reconciliation is NOT necessary if you have forgiven completely. Reconciliation is a FURTHER STEP with completely different dynamics. It may bring a blessing to the one who wronged you, and this is the ministry of reconciliation God gives us.
A Helpful Hint
Pray about seeking reconciliation with someone who wronged you, and get confirmation from the Lord. Also talk to a trusted friend or elder before going to the person, and take someone with you so that you are not hurt again. If the abuse is ongoing, even greater care needs to be taken.
Pray this week:
God will be strong and to protect you as you talk to the one who has offended you.
If you ask someone to forgive you and they do not... what should you do? Talk to a caring Christian about what you should do.Get Advice