Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

It seems that lately I've been surrounded by the word "forgiveness." I've seen it in my Bible readings, my Bible Study buddies have mentioned it, and my church even had a seminar on the topic. I didn't attend the seminar yet Laurie gave me copies of her notes. She said she remembered me talking about working on forgiveness in my life.

Really? I think I've turned into a person who doesn't listen to what I say because I don't remember talking about forgiveness at all.

There were two sentences (from the seminar) that "got me thinking":
Forgiveness isn't dependant on the other person.
But reconciliation is because it requires the other person to admit their fault too.

From Dictionary.com I retrieved the following definitions:
forgive - to pardon an offense or an offender
reconcile - to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable

It took me years to comprehend that forgiveness doesn't always follow a standard method of one person apologizing and the other person saying, "I forgive you."

I've learned to forgive a person without them apologizing to me. I pray asking God to help me forgive them and ask Him to change my heart toward them. I don't ask God to change them. I ask Him to change me.

Forgiveness is freeing. It helps me to not carry the burden of the offense/offender in my heart. It lightens my load. Sometimes a relationship continues between me and the person. Sometimes it does not. Either way, I have gained valuable experience to apply toward future relationships.

Reconciliation is where I am struggling in my heart. I don't like the word confrontation. I like the more civilized-sounding word of conversation.

I haven't tried to reconcile with one person because I will be in a vulnerable position. There has been no conversation about the circumstance that led us to this place of "relationship-in-limbo."  

It's interesting that a month ago I heard a sermon that by sending Jesus, God opened Himself up to vulnerability. God knew what was going to happen and sent Jesus anyway.

There is one person I have forgiven yet I haven't tried to reconcile with and a lot of time has passed by.

Is now the time?

If all goes well, I know that we will have greater peace.

If reconciliation doesn't happen will I suffer and be able to forgive again?

I pray for wisdom in this situation focusing on James 3:17, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."

I want to be a peacemaker who sows in peace.

What has reconciliation looked like in your relationships/life?

3 comments:

  1. This is beautiful, Cindy. And such a deep and challenging situation. I'm definitely praying for you today as you seek out wisdom in this.

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  2. Hi Cindy,
    Your post is great! Well spoken.
    I don't know which is more difficult, forgiving or reconciliation? But I know for Christians, forgiving is not optional. I Know that forgiving is a choice I must make, even if I may not feel like it. The Holy Spirit then begins the healing of my heart, and allows me to see that person through Jesus eyes. (this certainly does not happen overnight for me :o)

    Unfortunately, this is not a one time thing, in that there always seems to be more forgiving lessons on the horizon. The Lord teaches me something new with each trial, lesson in forgiveness. (hope I'm making sense :o)

    Re: Reconciliation;
    I have made at least 3 attempts of reconciliation to a family member of mine. Fault lies in both of us over years of various things; however, the cutting of ties was decided by them, not I, and they chose to do so to all extended family as well.

    I came across Matthew 5:23-24, about reconciliation, and thats what lead to making the attempts to reconcile with my family member. After failed reconciliations, I searched online for an interpretation of the scripture, and the one I found turned out to be what road I would be left to take, after my attempts to reconcile were ignored.

    Below is a Quote from the interpretation on Matthew 5:23-24 I found about 2 years ago, and wrote it in my notebook. found at www.newchurch.org

    "If we approach someone in anger, then he will not be able to hear us, he will be too busy defending himself. Our words will not be of use unless they come from love, and our spoken in charity. Where efforts to work out differences fail, and when it is possible to avoid that person, it is a wise course to take." www.newchurch.org

    Unfortunately, this is where I stand with my family member, after making attempts, and all were ignored, I believe the Lord was just saying I needed to move on, stay clear of them if possible, and He will take care of everything in His time. Sorry for the long comment. I pray that you will have a blessed reconciliation. God bless your day- Michele Katherine

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  3. Thank you for your prayer Annie.

    Thank you Michele Katherine for sharing your wisdom and for your encouragement.

    I'll post an update in the future.

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