Am I Willing To Reconcile?

I will be the first to admit that relationships can be problematic for me. For many reasons, I've had my share of challenges when it comes to family relationships, friendships, ministry connections and even in marriage. Hey... As they say in Ghana, "It's not easy!"

Even so, I'm constantly concerned about the best way to handle disputes and disagreements when they lead to relationship breakdowns, especially when it happens within the family of God. And let's be honest, these days, many, many relationships in the Body of Christ are strained, suffering or totally dismantled. I know that's troubling to my heart and I can only imagine what's churning in the heart of our Father God who's watching all this turmoil between His kids. 

As all of this has been playing out, I've been focused on making sure my heart is right before God as I try to negotiate these times and seasons, as clearly, some relationships are just not able to be salvaged. As much as we may try to reconcile, people these days are so angry, defensive, hurt and stuck in pride, that bridges are being incinerated and the ashes scattered in the wind. In some cases, it simply has to be this way because Jesus told us in the Matthew 13:24-30, that there was a day of separation coming, when the wheat, the healthy profitable grains, would have to be separated from the unhealthy, destructive tares. The wheat would be harvested and sent on to fulfill a useful purpose, but the tares would be gathered, bound and destroyed by fire. 

When people make choices about their attitudes and the condition of the hearts, they can either end up as productive, beneficial wheat, or tares that serve no other purpose other than division and destruction. And we have to decide which one of those kinds of people we're going to be. 

For those of us who earnestly desire to be the wheat of the Lord's harvest, there is wisdom on how to survive relationship clashes and offenses, that result in strife, division and broken relationship. These steps can be found in Matthew 18:15-17.

The instruction Jesus gave basically says, when brother has offended you follow these steps, in love, with the goal of reconciliation.  

1. Go to that brother and try to work it out. If he listens and is willing to work it out, you've gained a brother back. HALLELUJAH!

2. If that doesn’t work, take a mediator and go back and try to work it out. If the wisdom of the other witnesses can help bring the brother around and they're effective in working out the problems, then the fellowship can be restored. Amen!

3. If that doesn’t work, go to the elders and/or the church and collectively try to minister the way of repentance and reconciliation to the parties involved, to end the strife and contention and restore peace... Not only in the relationship, but also within the greater body of believers. But if the brother yet refuses to repent, apologize and reconcile, then the word says to withdraw from him and treat him as an outsider, in hopes that he will feel the sting of being cast out and then turn and come back into a righteous walk... Humbled and ready to be restored. 

Now, I don't know how often this process actually happens these days, for it seems that most believers that disagree to the point of breaking fellowship, usually just go their separate ways and rarely try to include others in the process to help restore the connection. However, we should at least try to apply the steps Jesus outlined, for the word says that the world will know that we are Christians by the love we have one for another. But in reality, most of what is seen is the feuding and strive among the brethren, that continues to tarnish our witness before the world. And that's never a good thing.  

As believers, there is a certain standard that we need to walk in, that promotes love and unity within the household of faith. This means, we should all have an expectation that we can and will, work together to make peace and keep peace within the family. When someone is wronged, the offending party needs to step up and take responsibility for their actions. Then make amends and agree not to behave in that way again. And those that have been wronged, need to humbly forgive and show grace, then they all need to move on together in love, leaving the dispute and any hard feelings in the past. 

There are several passages of scripture in the word that govern our behavior toward one another. Here are three such scriptures:

John 13:34-35 NIV

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

I Corinthians 13:4-8a TPT

“Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving.”

1 John 3:15 TPT

“Everyone who keeps hating a fellow believer is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”

When we take a good long look at these scriptures, study them and judge our walk against these words, it become crystal clear that if we’re claiming to be Christians, who embody the heart, character and lifestyle of Jesus, then we are required to love one another. AND we're required to forgive, restore and reconcile when offenses and breakdowns in relationships happen. 

Seriously, according to the word, this is a command, not an option... OR we face being cast out from among the brethren for fostering strife and division, rather than the love and unity that will keep us all whole, and that the world needs to see demonstrated in our daily walk.

Therefore we have to ask ourselves the question, 

"Am I Willing To Do Whatever It Takes To be Reconciled?"

In considering this question, understand this... A part of reconciling relationships is the willingness to change the attitudes and behaviors, that caused the offense in the first place. 

Meaning, reconciliation requires change. 

However, when someone cannot acknowledge the need for change, or they're unwilling or unable to make the necessary changes, then reconciliation may not be possible, unless or until change is possible.

In order to walk in love and unity, we always have to be willing to grow and change and become a better person in the relationship. If the relationship is worth keeping, then we'll do what's necessary to make it good. That's a personal choice, that we all have to make as we decide the kind of believer we want to be before God. 

Granted, everyone is simply not willing or able to be reconciled... Yet at the very least, we must try. Amen?

Ap Mimi 💜

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