“ All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling[a] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
All of us have been through times where we had a disagreement with someone. In many cases we have been able to resolve our differences and continue with a normal relationship. In others, we made the best of the situation and tried to forget about it. However, sometimes the disagreement was never resolved and everyone involved went their separate ways being bitter and without reconciling their differences. That is not the solution the Bible endorses.
The first thing the Bible teaches about reconciliation is that it is not a luxury, but a necessity for the believer. It should be a priority. Matthew 5:21-25 tells us that if we have an unresolved disagreement with someone that we should resolve it as soon as possible, even before we go to church again.
The Bible teaches that reconciliation should be done privately in a spirit of meekness. Matthew 18:15 (NLT) says, “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” The goal is to communicate that you want to resolve the problem, not make the other person look bad or put them in their place. When we take this approach, it communicates grace and love to the other person. This is reinforced in Ephesians 4:2-3 that says, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” And In Proverbs 10:12: “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.”
Then there is the whole matter of forgiveness which the Bible goes into in great length. Reconciliation means we must ask the other person to forgive us or forgive the other person if he or she asks for forgiveness. Forgiveness involves a two-way transaction: asking for forgiveness by the offender and the release of the right of the offended to enforce justice.
To reconcile or not to reconcile. Because Christ loves us we are limited on our options. We do not have a choice. Christ did something for you that was comfortable for Him so you could do something for others that may be uncomfortable to you. To say yes to God you have to say no to you because the love of Jesus compels us. Christ died for all so we could die to ourselves. We don’t have an option not to reconcile to others even if we don’t care.
- Is reconciliation easier with people other than family members? Why or why not?
- What does it means to carry on Christ’s ministry of reconciliation?
- Why is it impossible to have reconciliation if there is still hostility or estrangement between family members?
- Consider the following statement: “Because of Jesus, your past sins and failures no longer define you.” How can this truth be lived out practically in reconciliation?