Sharing Ministries Blog

FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION – YOU DO OR YOU DON’T

Posted on: July 9, 2014

Forgiveness and Reconciliation: You do or you don’t
Prayerfully penned by Daria Dillard Stone – The Servant
revised 2.1.16

How many times have I said “I am sorry” or you said you are sorry to someone only to repeat what you did that was so wrong – so dirty one more time? As a Christian I know I MUST forgive others when they hurt me – but it is hard. Yet it is even more difficult for me to forgive ME when I have hurt someone. What should I do?
Sound familiar doesn’t it? I encounter persons often who are trying to forgive someone who has hurt them over and over again. Have you? Or maybe it is a family member and/or friend that hurt you – a co-worker or neighbor – could it be someone at your church? Sure we know it’s our Christian duty to forgive, but it is HARD!! How do we forgive and reconcile, restore and redeem ourselves and the other person (or persons)? The hard way (and I mean the HARD way) I have learned the differences between forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness is always required by God, but it does not always lead to reconciliation does it? Jesus warned us by saying in Matt 6:14-15: 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. We can never EARN God’s forgiveness by forgiving; instead, God expects forgiven people to forgive (Matthew 18:21-35). Are you a forgiving person? What does the dictionary say forgiveness is? Forgiveness: noun – the act of forgiving someone or something; the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people.
Yet forgiveness is very different from reconciliation. It’s possible to forgive someone without offering immediate reconciliation. What does the dictionary say about reconciliation? Reconciliation: noun – the act of causing two people (or groups) to become friendly (or friends/have a positive attitude towards each other) again after an argument or disagreement.
It’s possible for forgiveness to occur in the context of one’s relationship with God apart from contact with the offender. But reconciliation is focused on restoring broken relationships. It is those pieces that only GOD can put back together. It is the process of time it takes in order for those pieces to “fit back” together. Yes it is the promise in God’s Word that allows those pieces to be planted as a seed of “I am sorry” and harvest as “I am forgiven.” Remember where trust is deeply broken, restoration and reconciliation is a process—one that can take a very long time.

“I forgive you, but it might take some time for me to regain trust and restore our relationship.” The evidence of genuine forgiveness is personal freedom from a vindictive or vengeful response (Romans 12:17-21), but not always an automatic restoration of any relationship. Differing from forgiveness, reconciliation is often based on contingencies, attitudes and/or actions of the offender. While the goal may be to mend a broken relationship, those who commit significant and repeated offenses must be willing to recognize that reconciliation is a process. If we are genuinely repentant, we will be able to recognize and accept that the harm we’ve MUST take the necessary time needed in order for real healing to come.

Be encouraged in knowing that God has already made a way of escape – I Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Forgiveness and Reconciliation: You do or you don’t

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