“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.“
2 Corinthians 13:11
At the end of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he reminds the church to aim for restoration. He’s encouraging this community to set their focus, to remember their goal, and to move in the same direction. And he clearly states the goal. His hope for them as a church family is move toward restoration.
Here, Paul doesn’t demand perfection. No. Perfect things don’t need restoring. It’s broken things, crooked things, and dysfunctional things that take work to restore. Paul knows and we know churches are full of imperfect human beings. But, that shouldn’t stop us from moving toward wholeness.
You see, church is family. You don’t usually choose your family, but you do choose how you love them. You can choose to seek reconciliation when relationships have been strained. You can offer grace and the benefit of the doubt when trust is seemingly broken. You can pursue intentional love when tension and struggle arise.
Often in church culture today we run around looking for the perfect church family or we leave when relationships get tough. We want a church who will accept us for who we are and commit to loving us no matter what. And the truth is, we have free will in the searching and of course we want to make a healthy choice. But, what if the healthiest choice for our soul is to commit to a church family, to make a covenant to love the people in that community despite the mess and brokenness everyone brings to the table? What if expecting the church to offer us that kind of love without giving intentional love is actually unhealthy for our soul and unhelpful for the goal of restoration? Consider what you could do to aim for restoration in your church family and take an active step toward this goal today.
By Yvonne Biel