Monday, 6 January 2014

Forgiveness and reconciliation

Last night Sunday 5th i had the joy of leading worship at my home church and we looked at forgiveness and reconciliation. It's something which has been playing on my mind for a few months now as i have noticed i have got a real low tolerance for idiots and thats the way it goes. Now as i'm not a note user i'm going to try and get the points down from it and hopefully it will help someone out.

Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation, forgiveness is the act of pardon for wrong done. Reconciliation is the renewal of broken bridges or relationships, they differ but can be intertwined but not necessarily so, in fact you can forgive but not reconcile to the situation in hand, logically if you forgive then reconciliation should follow. But being human and holding grudges is a by product of us being hurt, when we hurt we want the offender to hurt as well, we say we don't but we do and we need to be honest about this. Forgiving someone is an act of our will, we have to mean it when we say we do, we have to live it and most importantly we need to learn to let go of the hurt and problem. For some of us that is hard, we want our case heard we want some form of justice or is it revenge we want. Also we often want our own way and this is where part of the problem comes. As Christians we are called to act like Christ, we are called to surrender to him and his will, for some of us thats harder to do than to say, but it's time to stop paying lip service to the idea of forgiving and letting go, we can really only do it with Gods help if we claim Christ as our own. We need to understand that carrying around the baggage we have causes us pain and heartache at some stage in our lives. Some Christians i know have been carrying hurt around for an age and it's affected their faith, their understanding of God, and invariably God gets blamed for an act of human interference and it just runs around in an ever decreasing circle, it's time to let it go.

Reconciliation is the process of rebuilding in Corinthians Paul says we have the ministry of reconciliation, we are called to reconcile as God reconciled us to himself by the death of Jesus on the cross and his ressurection, we are called to reconcile as we have been reconciled. It's hard and will not always be easy, but it's something we do need to get to grips with. Reconciliation is a hard path but a worthwhile one, it requires grace which we tend to lack when we are hurting or have been hurt. Ironically most of us believe the problem is the other persons and ignore our own part in why relations have broken down, we ignore our attitude, our words, our efforts, because obviously we are right how could i/we be wrong. If you are carrying baggage, if you are hurting instead of your ego taking over, instead of making it everyone else's problem, actually own it and deal with it. As we stand at the start of a new year it is time for us to wake up, leave the past behind we can't change it, but we can change our attitude to it and move forward into a better future. We have to decide in very real and logical terms, am i happy to carry this around for another period of time, which some are because the hurt goes deep and ego kicks in (personal perpendicular pronounitis) we become fairly stubborn, and just won't let it go. One thing which we will need to do is surrender to God, we will need to take a bigger picture, because as much as we don't like to admit it we put God into a box, and he will operate in that box and it has to be right because we understand it, but God does not need your understanding he needs you as you are broken, whole, hurting, joyful and ready to do business with him. The kingdom is all important, it's the kingdom we want to see come, it's the kingdom we live in. It's time to show people grace and reconciliation in action, it's time to deal with whats holding you back and move forward. What are you gonna do about it.


  1. Helpful words as usual, Andy. For my penny's worth, there are three words tied up in this whole area of broken and reformed relationships - forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation. Each of the first two can exist without the other, but the last can't exist without both of the first two. It's why I never get the phrase "God forgives us when we say sorry" or words to that effect. Surely part of, if not the whole, point of the life, death and resurrection of Christ is that God has already forgiven us. But we can't access that forgiveness until we repent, until we realise what it is we've got wrong that God has graciously already forgiven us for, and turn away from it. And part of what we, as individuals, as communities, as the Church, need to repent from is our unwillingness to live out true reconciliation with God and with our neighbour. We fail to properly forgive, we fail to properly repent, and because we don't get these right, we fail to properly reconcile - and if we cannot reconcile with one another then we are not reconciled properly to God, for we meet God in our neighbours. Hope this makes sense!

    1. Tom brilliant in it's simplicity, i purposely left repentance out because i covered it hopefully under forgiveness. It is a problem when you don't use notes and are reliant on a poor memory lol. I agree with everything you say though mate, and i did say last night that if we can't get it right one with another we have little chance of doing it with those outside, using Christs teaching of they will know you by the love you have one for another as the basis for that. It spoke to people and i think from the comments it struck a chord and those who were there last night will attempt to put it into practise and sort out those things.