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Mending Broken Relationships

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Following God’s Example of Reconciliation

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

When sin entered the world, many aspects of life were negatively affected, including relationships. A barrier was erected between God and mankind—and between individuals as well. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, all subsequent generations have likewise been covering up, hiding from God, and blaming each other. Consequently, family members are estranged, friendships end, and those once dear to us become our enemies.

Mending broken relationships is not quick or easy, but as believers, we are called to live in harmony with one another. Knowing that sin alienated mankind from God, we can learn how to set things right by examining how He works to reconcile us to Himself.

  • Take the initiative: The Lord reached out to us when we were His enemies (Rom. 5:6-11), and He calls us to do the same, whether we are the offender (Matt. 5:23-24) or the offended (Luke 6:27-28).
  • Pardon all offenses: We are told to forgive others in the same way that God forgave us (Col. 3:12-13). This unconditional release of our right to make others pay for their wrongdoing isn’t limited by the degree or frequency of the offense.
  • Make efforts to restore the relationship: God reconciled us in Christ, not counting our trespasses against us (2 Cor. 5:17-21). Following His example, we are to be reconciled to one another in love, not holding onto wrongs suffered (1 Cor. 13:4-5).
  • Wait and trust God for the outcome: Offering forgiveness is mandatory for the believer, but reconciliation is a two-way street. Just as many people reject the opportunity to be reconciled to the Father through Christ, some may refuse to participate with us in mending a human relationship. The Lord, who desires that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), responds by waiting patiently. Similarly, we should make efforts to live at peace and overcome evil with good. The way to do this is by being kindhearted and blessing those who refuse restoration (Rom. 12:17-21; 1 Peter 3:8-12).

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you have any relationships that need mending? What is hindering you from initiating reconciliation?
  2. If you have attempted restoration but the other person has refused, how are you responding? In spite of the alienation, what can you do to show love and kindness?

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