I’ve been thinking a lot about reconciliation of late. One good definition of reconcile means to “restore to friendship”. I like that. It implies no matter how strong a friendship you share with someone you may possibly come to a severe disagreement that cripples that friendship. Kind of like what happened between human beings and God. Our friendship was broken because of sin. In these times we live in, when friendships go awry it’s easy to just forget about someone and “move on”. For a time, at least. But if that friend was truly a friend you will most definitely miss them and over time the offense that drove you apart will seem less significant. While that may be true for human relationships it isn’t true for the relationship between man and God. Our sin never becomes less significant to God. He can never forgive it unless we are reconciled with him. There is only one way to reconcile with God. In the same way we would go to a friend and seek forgiveness we have to seek forgiveness from God. A friend most likely will forgive your offense and the relationship can be restored. But not so with God. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” – simply doesn’t cut it with God. Our relationship with God requires a reconciler, one who can stand in the gap of our broken relationship. That reconciler is Jesus and He is the ONLY reconciler that will work. If we trust Jesus to be our reconciler to God, then when we tell Him “I’m sorry, please forgive me” and repent; our relationship is restored; we are now under His grace. And if relationships are that important to God that he would stand by and watch his own son suffer and die to become that reconciler for us; shouldn’t we trust Jesus to reconcile our human relationships?
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 ESV)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15 ESV)
Matthew 5:24 is a great reminder that we are not to just dust off a friendship easily. We are not to say to ourselves by way of justifying what we did or how we feel, “well, they aren’t worth my time…you know they really hurt me when they did this or said that…you know, I just don’t think they like me anymore…and the excuses can go on and on and on…. But Jesus tells us, before you continue your act of worship, go and reconcile with the one who has something against you. The implication too is that we should do the same thing when we know we’ve offended someone else and they may have something against us.
I know none of this is easy. But it is necessary. The fact of the matter is we are not always in the right, even when we believe that we are. You may be asking – how will I know? I guarantee you, that if you have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, are studying your Bible, are praying and asking God to make you more like Jesus everyday; then, the Holy Spirit will let you know. You’ll recall conversations, actions, and people that you need to reconcile with. It’s important. God made a way to reconcile us; to restore us back into a relationship with Him. We can do no less. Call that person…you know who they are…and go, humble yourself and seek to reconcile. You may never be the friends you once were but there won’t be anything between you and them anymore. And that friends I imagine puts a smile on God’s face.