This week we are focusing on the beauty and power of forgiveness. We have challenged you to consider the relational impact of withholding forgiveness. On Sunday, Alex helped us think of forgiveness as a tool for maintaining healthy relationships. All these things are accurate and powerful, but what do we do when we forgive, and the other party does not? Another question might be, what do we do if we forgive, but the relationship is dangerous to us? Should we always reconcile with others?
Forgiveness is what Jesus invites us to pray for and extend to others in this prayer. Forgiveness does not always turn into reconciliation. Reconciliation requires both parties to come together in forgiveness. In Romans 12:18, Paul writes, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” The phrase “if it is possible” is essential in this challenge. It implies that it isn’t always possible. There are times when abuse or a lack of forgiveness from the other party prevents reconciliation.
Jesus teaches us to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” That is an invitation to do everything in our power to reconcile with God and others. The beauty of our request to God is that he extends forgiveness to all who repent. That isn’t always true when there is brokenness between two humans, but forgiveness sets the forgiver free.
Take a moment to do a relationship inventory. How are you doing? Is there anyone you can think of that you have relational tension with? Maybe now is the time to set both you and them free from the thing that separates you. Remember, this may need to happen repeatedly in your heart. Forgiveness is a calling that makes reconciliation possible.