As an introduction to this study, please read 6 Elements of Sincere Reconciliation.
If we’re involved in a difficult relationship, we must make sure we’re honoring God’s desire for reconciliation.
1. Let's remember that we're "ambassadors of reconciliation."
Did you know that Christians are "ambassadors of reconciliation"? We can't be effective in reconciling unbelievers to God if we aren't seriously seeking reconciliation with friends and family members.
2 Corinthians 5:16-20: "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 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. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors..."
2. Let's actively seek reconciliation.
This truth is emphasized in the passage below. God doesn't want us serving Him while neglecting our personal relationships.
Matthew 5:23-24: "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift."
Genuine repentance involves turning from sin, so it's likely the person described in the Scripture below is not sincerely repentant, yet God tells us to forgive them. Forgiveness doesn't restore trust in situations like this, but it makes reconciliation possible if the other person genuinely repents. And it frees us from bitterness.
Luke 17:3: "So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them."
4. Let's refuse bitterness.
Hebrews 12:14-15: "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."
5. Let's refuse selfishness.
If we never inconvenience ourselves and never give up our own desires in order to please others, we are just plain selfish.
Philippians 2:3-5: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…"
6. Let's judge ourselves first.
relationship problems involve one or both parties harshly judging the
other person’s sins while overlooking, justifying, or excusing their own
Matthew 7:1-5: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
7. Let's honor those God tells us to honor.
If reconciliation involves our parents, God considers it even more important than reconciliation in other relationships, and adult children have more responsibility than parents to “honor” the relationship and pursue peace and harmony.
8. In conclusion