Over the past few years, I’ve been digging deeper into the Bible to gain facts about forgiveness and reconciliation. I trust that Christ wants me to walk in His truth. After all, He sacrificed His life to set me free.
In His freedom, we let go of the misconceptions, hypocrisy, and legalism in order to draw near to our Abba Daddy in a relationship with Him. There is no better place for us to be than the center of Jesus. For Him to be the core of our existence.
To be made new. To be wrapped in His tender arms. To be showered with His unconditional love.
When it comes to forgiveness and reconciliation, please understand that God gave us free will. This means that each person has the freedom to forgive or not forgive. To restore broken relationships with others or to not reconcile with them.
Oftentimes, I hear Christians use both words interchangeably. However, forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. They are two totally different things.
Sometimes, reconciliation can follow forgiveness. Other times, it does not. The main reason restoration of a broken relationship isn't possible is due to one or more people who are not open to reconcile.
For forgiveness, it is a solo journey. It only requires one person to seek forgiveness. Forgiving others is a choice.
Of course, it’s a painful experience for some individuals. Each circumstance is unique. Truly, God’s grace is key to move forward in forgiveness.
We should never demand someone to forgive. Or shame, blame, and manipulate people to forgive another person. It's not up to us to make this personal decision for anyone other than ourselves.
Dear Christians, please stop criticizing, judging, and accusing others for not being a “good Christian” if they haven’t reached a final stage of forgiveness. It’s actually very traumatizing and hurtful. It can prevent a person from forgiving others.
Instead of pressuring someone to forgive or reconcile, pray for them. Have understanding and compassion. Ask God to give them wisdom, discernment, and courage to surrender old wounds.
Reconciliation is not identical to forgiveness. It will always take two or more people to mutually agree to restore a broken relationship. It takes two to tango! If one of them refuses to restore the relationship, it’s impossible to move forward in reconciliation.
Reconciliation will require remorse, an apology, genuine repentance, and to actively seek healing with someone. It must come for the heart and be authentic. Otherwise, it can only cause more negativity in the relationship.
Although, our Heavenly Maker may desire for us to heal, to forgive, and to reconcile our relationships with family, friends, and others, He will never force us to do so. (Free will.)
I am no stranger to forgiveness and reconciliation. It took me 50+ years to go around and around that same agonizing situation with my dad. It was a long, drawn out process. It's caused me years of grief, despair, and frustration.
Today, I give thanks to the Lord up above for placing an author, John Finch, across my path a few years ago. After reading his powerful book, The Father Effect, God started softening my heart.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine a book would directly lead to my forgiveness and restoration with my dad. Keep in mind, forgiveness was only between me and Christ. Whereas reconciling with my dad was between me, my dad, and Jesus.
Healing was only possible because my birth father and I were willing and ready for restoration. It’s the most beautiful and life-changing moment on earth. It fills me with peace, comfort, and joy.
Today, if you are struggling with either forgiveness or reconciliation with one or more people, pray about it. Talk to Jesus the way you talk to friends. Pour out your thoughts and concerns. Ask Him for wisdom, clarity, and discernment.
Understand that God already knows your circumstances. And He loves you, despite the difficult situations that you wrestle with or your imperfections.
I pray for Christ to give you a new perspective about your relationships and situations with others. That you can see things in a new way to open up the door for your own healing.
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10 (ESV)