Throughout our lives we’ll encounter times when we need a restart. Sometimes it’s because we’re stuck or sluggish, like we saw in the last post about when our ministries might need a restart. Other times, it’s because something is broken, like our fellowship with others due to some sort of offense, hurt, or misunderstanding. The strain on our relationships can lead to hostility and division if we don’t take steps toward reconciliation.
Relational restarts usually aren’t easy since we can’t control the reactions of others. Yet, God will provide the needed wisdom, power, and grace.
Goal of Restarts in Relationships Should be Reconciliation
God in His wisdom demonstrated for us what it takes for relational restoration. Notice the elements of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness (“not counting people’s sins against them”) in the following verses, resulting in peace, no longer alienation.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Rom. 5:8-10)
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:18-19)
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you … (Col. 1:20-22)
So, in our relationships with one another, we’re to love as He loves which will sometimes require us to sacrifice and forgive even those who do not deserve such mercy and grace. We will strive toward peace with one another. — “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Rom. 12:18)
Understand the Realities of Restarts in Relationships
When talking about forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, and peace in relationships, we need to accept the following realities:
- Reconciliation may not mean agreement. We may need to agree to disagree as we make every effort to be at peace with one another, not letting bitterness or hostility fester. (Rom. 12:18; Heb. 12:14)
- Forgiveness means we are not vindictive or holding the person’s “sin” against them (2 Cor. 5:18-19). It does not mean a lack of consequences. Nor does it mean changes don’t have to be made before the relationship can be restored. We do not ignore dysfunction (Jn. 8:10-11).
The relationship may never get back to what it was but at least, out of reverence to Christ and for His sake, our goal should be to get to the point where we can truly be amicable, or at peace, with one another (Eph. 5:21). God will give us the grace and power we need to rise above as we take steps in that direction.