Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!
Just because reconciliation is not unconditional does not mean that it is unimportant. God wants reconciliation in marriages, in friendships, and in churches. That is always His ultimate desire.
Over and over again Scripture talks about the importance of reconciliation. In Psalm 133:1 the psalmist said, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” And 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, “God … reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” In Ephesians 4:3 Paul said, “[Be] diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” And in Philippians 2:2 he said, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” Make no mistake about it: God wants you to be reconciled to the person who has wronged you.
Reconciliation is important for two reasons. First, reconciliation testifies of God’s power. Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Christians’ love for one another and forgiveness of one another serve as a powerful witness to the world of the reality of the Christian faith. And the corollary of that truth is this: nothing is a poorer witness to the world than the inability of Christians to get along with one another. That’s why God desires reconciliation.
Second, reconciliation empowers us to resist the enemy. In Ephesians 6:12 Paul said, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The greatest struggle you are facing right now is not with that difficult boss you have to deal with. It’s not with that mate who doesn’t care about you like he or she should. Your greatest conflict is not with that business partner who cheated you out of money. Paul said your greatest struggle is with the spiritual forces of darkness. Satan loves to divide Christians, then isolate Christians, and then attack Christians. I have seen that happen over and over again. That is why reconciliation is so important. There is strength in numbers.
But although God’s will is reconciliation, reconciliation is not always possible with a person who has wronged us. In Romans 12:18 Paul said, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Forgiveness depends on you, but reconciliation doesn’t always depend on you. A lot of people misunderstand this. They don’t realize that in a relationship that has been broken, it is the offended party who gets to decide whether a relationship is reconciled. Forgiveness is unconditional, but reconciliation is conditional.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Forgiving People You Never Want to Eat Lunch with Again” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.