For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT
Why? Because of friends (really, all of us) who have built walls instead of bridges because of real or imagined offenses!
My husband John knows of my disbelief, amazement, and struggle about a certain important, long-time, but now estranged, relationship in my life. So when having his devotions the other day and coming upon this verse in the book of Proverbs, John eagerly shared it with me.
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Proverbs 18:19 NLT
Yow! ...harder to win over than a fortified city! I have to ask the question, Why?
Why is it almost impossible to reconcile with offended friends?
And I'm talking Christian friends...not just unbelievers!
So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple 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 NLT
But as the saying goes,
It takes two to tango.
And more importantly, as God says through the apostle Paul,
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NIV
So I guess here's the point, despite the grief and loss of it all...
...after doing what we can do, leave it with the Lord and continue to love, forgive, and extend grace.
Shortly after posting a link to this blog on facebook, my friend Janice responded there and gave me permission to share her thoughts. This really puts reconciliation in perspective:
Jan, my heart resonates with your desire for reconciliation...I've come to understand that...reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel and God's heart in that He is obsessed with our reconciliation with Himself, to the extent of giving up His only Son to the cross, in our place, to make it possible for us to be reconciled to Him for all time! Perhaps, God means for us to understand what it is for Him to offer reconciliation and see it rejected. His heart is always grieved, but He allows us the choice to receive it or reject it!
Amen, dear Janice, and thank you for sharing God's heart for reconciliation. May this be ours also! Amen.
And that's all, folks!
(By the way, as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences...and yes, wisdom...even below in the comment section.)