Reconciliation is a Two Way Street

Reconciliation is a change in a relationship between two people who are separated from, and opposed to, each other. In that scenario there is no peace or fellowship between the two parties and the relationship is broken. There is then disharmony in the lives of the unreconciled. Now, I can’t speak for you, but I don’t do well in disharmonious situations. I am unsettled, uneasy, perhaps worried, and most likely frustrated. And since I don’t have peace with other party, I then don’t tend to have peace within myself also.
Why do we need reconciliation? For me, I recognize that I need reconciliation to set me back on an even footing. I need that reconciliation to restore peace and harmony to my life.
What about reconciliation with God? If you are a Christian, then you are already reconciled to God. Why was reconciliation necessary? Because God is holy and pure, we are not. We are sinners, and as such we have a broken relationship with God. That’s why our loving God sent his us son Jesus, to live the sinless life that we cannot live, and to suffer the consequences of this sinful world, so that we could be forgiven and humankind could be restored into a right relationship with our Abba Father. Our sins are forgiven, we can enter into communion with God and we are reconciled. “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 the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19, ESV)
Are we commanded by God to enter into reconciliation with others when we have differences, and broken relationships? Yes. “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). “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” (Ephesians 4:3, ESV).
A few days ago we talked about reconciliation, and I contended that you cannot have true reconciliation with out repentance. But there’s another angle to examine with reconciliation, that is just as it takes two to dance the tango, it takes (at least) two people for reconciliation to take place.
Here’s what I think true reconciliation looks like: each party must be willing to humble themselves, engage in sincere and in-depth conversation, exhibit true repentance, extend forgiveness, reach a common understanding, and finally establish rules and expectations for the relationship going forward. Looking through God’s Word to us, that’s what I think that God laid out for us to do, and therefore I think that may indeed be the model to use for reconciling with others.
I do not believe that true reconciliation will work unless both parties approach it in the same manner. If you have entered into the process with another to reconcile, how then will you know if it was successful? Well, if the relationship is restored and you are able to feel free around the other party that would be one clue. I also think that as time goes on you’ll see whether or not the other person, or yourself, has a serious commitment to reconciliation and the relationship.

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