Any time there is conflict of any kind whether it be in the heart, in the home, or in the church it may be that we have our doubts about reconciliation. Maybe the person or group we are in conflict with said or did something so terrible in our eyes that we cannot imagine a situation in which reconciliation is possible.
Christians who have been saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ ought not to have such a attitude. For, before Christ, we were enemies of God because of our sin. We were deserving of his wrath and judgment and unable to bring about reconciliation. But God in his love reconciled us to himself “by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10).
Further, since we have been reconciled to God through Christ we now have the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). He has entrusted to us the “message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19). So as a result of our own reconciliation with God we are now to be reconciled with others.
So what about the person with whom reconciliation seems impossible? Well, do we believe in the power of Christ to save the worst of sinners? Do we believe that even we, who were enemies of God, have now been restored? If so, we must believe that reconciliation with others is possible even if it seems difficult or impossible to us.
The gospel frees us to reconcile with others. Part of our unwillingness to reconcile and unbelief that it is possible comes from fear in our own hearts. We fear that if we reconcile with people who have wronged us we are saying that what they did is okay. We fear that those whose sin has affected us will get off free and we want them to pay a price. Left to ourselves we will never truly reconcile and restore relationships but rather ride the wave to bitterness and cynicism.
But the gospel guards us from such a path. If we believe the gospel we are freed from worrying about ourselves. We are reminded that our own sin was paid for by Christ and we didn’t get what we deserved and in the same way we should reconcile to others. We are freed from the deception that we must prove that we were right and they were wrong because our identity is not found in our ‘rightness’ but in Christ.
At the end of the day we must be willing to reconcile with others even if it seems difficult or impossible. Because, without Christ, our own reconciliation to God was impossible. Our reconciliation to God depends on our trust in the work of Christ. And our reconciliation to others who have wronged us depends not on our ability but on our trust in the work of Christ.
So, can you reconcile to that person who drug your character to through the mud? Can you reconcile with that group of people who slandered and criticized you and your family? Can you be reconciled to the spouse or family member who hurt you? On your own strength…never. But with the power of the gospel and trust in the work of Christ you can.
Romans 12:14-21 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.