Reconciliation - Hard to Do But Great Rewards -Part 4

photo by mael-balland at unsplash

photo by mael-balland at unsplash

So our last discussion about reconciliation is that between parent and child. First, please know that God put you together. As the parent, your love for our child really is unconditional (at least as a believer) and whether we disapprove of a behavior or some situation in our child’s life, we love our child! As a child, you can’t help but love and want to feel love from your parent. There is a natural bond between the two.

Now, I do understand that the above can be tainted if one or both have a true mental illness. But otherwise, is the problem, situation or hurt really worth the estrangement?

Again, we must remember that we can only do our part. What is our part?

  1. Accept responsibility - even if you don’t feel you are in the wrong, somewhere, somehow you have played a part - maybe your part has just been being unwilling to forgive

  2. Apologize for your part in the matter - whatever part that is

  3. Forgive them - whether they ask for your forgiveness or not. Forgiveness restores your relationship with Christ and releases the bitter, hard feelings you have toward the other

  4. Live peaceably - this may be difficult when the other party doesn’t want to reconcile, but do your part

  5. Pray, pray, pray for this person - trust me when I tell you that God will work a miracle in your heart toward someone you’ve had unforgiveness toward and you consistently pray for them. You will start to see them as God sees you - a hopeless sinner except by His mercy and grace…

Let’s look at scripture.

Ephesians 6:1-4 says “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

The above verses don’t say “unless they do…” or “except when they…”.

Child you are to obey your parents so long as you are under their care and their direction does not violate God’s word. Regardless, of your age you are to honor your father and mother. That does not mean you have to be mistreated by them, but you can stand up with honor. You can choose to show respect even if you disagree.

Parents are not to drive their child to exasperation-don’t provoke them. Don’t push and prod to the point the child feels demoralized and broken or driven by anger. Instead, teach them the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Show and teach them what is right by God’s standard. Lovingly hold them accountable while they are under your care. Once they are out of your house, keep loving them even when you don’t agree with their actions.

Is this always easy? Of course not! Do we mess up? Yes, we do. - both parent and child. Is there forgiveness? YES, always from God when we repent and yes, there should be between parent and child if both are believers. And if only one of you are a believer, what better way to demonstrate the love of God to the lost one than by forgiving and living peaceably?

Reconciliation can be hard, but the rewards are great! I’m praying for you! If you find yourself in the midst of needing reconciliation, cry out to Jesus and follow Him down the road to reconciliation!

Reconciliation - Hard to Do But Great Rewards -Part 3

Photo by Annie Spratt

Photo by Annie Spratt

Reconciliation has many facets. We’ve talked about the most important - being reconciled to God. And we’ve talked about our purpose as believers and followers of Jesus Christ - reconciling others to God. But what about the reconciliation that sometimes needs to happen in families? Specifically, the reconciliation between siblings.

Unless you’re an only child, you’ve probably experienced a situation where there was a need for reconciliation between siblings. Depending on the circumstances this can sometimes be harder for some than others. But forgiveness, which is the first step in reconciliation, is yours.

but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:15

God is the only being who can forgive and forget. We are not capable of forgetting, but forgiveness is a choice. Yes, it may take a lot of prayer and determination, but when forgiveness is complete, the record keeping of the other’s wrong is dropped.

Think about this…when you harbor unforgiveness toward someone what happens to you? You become bitter. Bitterness becomes mean. Mean spreads to everyone, not just the one to whom you are bitter towards. (Maybe not 100% of the time, but often.) Thus, your life becomes consumed by this unforgiveness.

When you truly want reconciliation you must first forgive - truly forgive - that person who has wronged you. Pray about it. Realize that Jesus died for them just as He died for you. Realize that Jesus loves them just as much as He does you. Realize that they are a sinner, even if a saint also, just as you are.

17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:17-19 ESV

You, alone, cannot make reconciliation happen. It takes both parties to reconcile. But you can do your part. You can forgive which removes your searing pain and takes away your bitterness, and you can love your sibling anyway which keeps them dear to you.

Unfortunately, even when both parties forgive and make amends, the relationship may never go back to the way it was before. God is the only one Who can truly wipe the slate clean. Perhaps, over time, the relationship will get close to the way it was, but that doesn’t always happen, even when both parties are followers of Christ.

One thing I do know is that life is short and it is a wonderful thing to know that you have no regrets with someone when they die.

So do the “as much as is possible that depends on you” and forgive and/or ask for forgiveness and then live peaceably.. This removes your bitterness and/or guilt, and it restores your relationship to Christ. The part of the reconciliation with the other party is then up to them.

Complete reconciliation is the goal. After all, Jesus is the Healer and when we let Him, He will completely HEAL our broken relationships.

Reconciliation - Hard to Do But Great Rewards -Part 2

photo by sharon mccutcheon on unsplash

photo by sharon mccutcheon on unsplash

While we talk about reconciliation, the first thing we should be doing after becoming a believer is reconciling others to Jesus.

After all, there is NOTHING like experiencing PEACE WITH GOD! Our first desire should be to lead others to that same peace. Our responsibility is to show and tell. We are to live out the faith we have received and to tell others about the love of Jesus, the source of our faith. What they do with that information is between them and the Holy Spirit!

That should bring you comfort - knowing that someone else’s decisions are not our responsibility. It’s theirs. Our responsibility is obedience in sharing the gospel, lending a hand, being the Jesus that other see.

How can we actually be an instrument of reconciliation for others to Jesus? I’m glad you asked. Like I mentioned recently about my Mother, she always managed to turn whatever subject into Jesus. I don’t mean in a “preachy” kind of way and not a talking “at” you kind of way. But like she had just spent time with Him and couldn’t contain herself from telling you about it! I hope that makes sense.

Back in the day as I grew up in church, we were really legalistic even though we knew we were saved by grace. With legalism comes judgmental attitudes. When that’s in your heart, you can rest assured that’s what comes out and that’s what people see. Maybe without even knowing it, you belittle or talk down to them or beat them up with your Bible. I hate to admit it, but that is who I was for years as a believer. My most common form of speech was sarcasm. And I was a pro at it. Lord, forgive me! And if you have been on the other end of that from me, please accept my deepest regrets. I pray you, too, ca forgive me.

Today, I try to see people through “rose” colored glasses. What I mean is I try to see people through the lens of Jesus- He shed His blood for them. When you start to look at people in that context legalism and judgement begin to fall away. I mean, it’s only by His blood that I am not still bound for hell and a slave to sin.

How can I not tell others there’s a way out? And that’s what the great commission is about.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20 ESV

This is our priority number 1 as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ.

Yes, this can be hard…well, uncomfortable…sometimes but the rewards are great! Not only are you rewarded for your obedience, but that new believer has been saved from destination - hell - and now they know that peace with God so they can share it with others!

I’d love to hear about some of the reconciliation moments you’ve shared in the comments!

Reconciliation - Hard to Do But Great Rewards -Part 1

Photo by  Ben White  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Another topic that was suggested on the blog survey was that of reconciliation. Wow. Now that’s a topic! Once you are estranged from someone, it is so hard to reconcile.

I would be remiss if I didn’t begin with the ultimate reconciliation. True forgiveness and reconciliation comes from Jesus Christ and unto Jesus Christ. Until we know Him through our personal reconciliation, we cannot fully forgive and reconcile with others.

So how do we do that you might ask.

  • First, we have to confess that we are sinners.

    • Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

  • Accept the free gift of eternal life.

    • Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  • Confess and believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead.

    • Romans 10:9-10 “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

  • Know for certain that you belong to Jesus.

    • Romans 10:13 “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

  • Get involved with a Biblical local church

    • Hebrews 10:25 “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.“

  • Get a Bible and read it; study it. I recommend starting in the book of John.

    • John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

  • Follow Jesus - obey Him as He speaks to your through the Bible and the Holy Spirit

    • Matthew 16:24 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Now that we have our own reconciliation with Jesus secure we can discuss reconciliation with others.

Next week we’ll discuss the Biblical view of reconciliation with others. Please leave comments or email me with your comments, if you’d like. I’d love to hear from you!