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The Hope of Reconciliation

Often times, I meet with people who struggle against a desire that everything be reconciled. The idea that in the world that everything needs accounted for--every cent, every offense, every gift, every good thing needs to be recorded, checked off and balanced. The thinking that we can apply this sort of mathematical thinking to our lives is, in itself, absurd. Unless, we look at the the biblical promise of reconciliation in Christ Jesus.

I don't often share my story of domestic abuse publicly. But I do think it is important to mention that I have been in an abusive relationship all of my adult life. Despite the pain of my situation, I still hope for reconciliation as a work of the Spirit. Reconciliation is a command, restoration is a promise only between the believer and God. Reconciliation is possible as I forgive each offense. We are commanded to forgive those who trespass against us. We are not commanded to restore those who continue in trespass to relationship with us. We are told to reconcile--forgive those who sin against us. This means we no longer hold them responsible for the sin against us. We trust that the Holy Spirit will handle them and we release them from any debt we held. This could be the debt of pain, the debt of retaliation, the debt of anger, the debt of sorrow or the debt of fear.

This does not mean in cases where you are unsafe, or where sin continues against you, that you must restore a sinful relationship which remains sinful. Matthew 6-8 and Matthew 18 reveal Jesus' heart for confessing sin, confronting sin, forgiving sin, seeking peace, reconciliation and restoration. The caveat to restoration is that both parties must stop sinning for restoration to be considered. The scripture clearly states that if the sin stops, the victory is realized and restoration can occur. However, in cases of ongoing, habitual, unrepentant sin--restoration may not be possible. Our hope of restoration is that we will completely stop sinning when we enter heaven. In this life, we have hope of restoration in that we are no longer slaves to sin. This does not mean we will not sin, but that we will not suffer the consequences of our sin in death. We will still suffer the consequences of sin when sin occurs in this life. There is no get out of jail free card. There is mercy. There is grace. But also, there are consequences of sin since we are not yet perfected with Christ.

But for Jesus, we would be unable to reconcile sins like abuse. We would be unable to forgive. We would hold fast to unforgiveness and compound sin with sin. Jesus says we are to forgive--reconcile. Through the power of the Cross, we are able to do this. Just as we are forgiven in Him, we can forgive others. "bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also." (Colossians 3:13).

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