Sunday, November 6, 2011

Reconciling with One Another for the Grace of Forgiveness

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Excerpt from “Walking with God and One Another in Reconciliation” – 2011-11-06
Reconciling is hard and complicated because relationships are hard and complicated – because we are fallen and sinful. We live in an age that is saturated with entitlement and rebellion and cynicism; it is all around us and it is all in us. And because it is so - we are all guilty of hurting or offending others from time to time. We may not have meant to or are not aware that we have – but we have and now there’s not only hard feelings and but also gulf in some of our relationships. Now we normally justify what we have said or done because we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions but everyone else by their actions. This is because our inherent sinful pride tends to we see our motives as pure – when in reality that is rarely the case.

Yes, reconciliation can be difficult. But just because it is difficult doesn't mean it is not right. In fact God commands that we do so. The purpose of going to those we have hurt or offended us is two-fold. First, it is be reconciled. And second, it is to be an instrument of God’s grace. You see the key to reconciliation is forgiveness. In humility we go to those we have hurt and offended and say to them, “Forgive me. I was wrong.” If they accept this, reconciliation begins. If they are not open to forgiving, it is in the hands of God: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” When we ask for forgiveness from those we have hurt or offended we are allowing ourselves to be instruments of God’s grace – because reconciliation is the objective of forgiveness. This is God’s heart for us, who reconciled us to Himself when, “He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).