Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Reconciling Difficult Relationships

“…Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God…according to God’s grace…And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us…” 2 Co 1:12-14a.

Poor Paul…he so loves the Corinthians who were baby believers in the faith. He had previously spent 18 months with them ...testifying to the gospel of Christ and encouraging them in the love, grace and knowledge from God. They had eaten together, studied together, cried together and no doubt loved each other. During this time, he watched them grow in their faith and built fellowship through their shared love of Christ. But once he left, he received word of problems in Christian conduct within the walls of the church. He writes 1 Co dealing with the importance of developing holy character, which wasn’t received very warmly from the Corinthians. He went back to them as a result of these problems to deal with them in person. Paul referred to this visit as a ‘sorrowful visit.’

Who in this world has escaped a ‘sorrowful visit’ with those we love leaving pain and hurt in the aftermath? I would say that if we are in relationships all of us have been hurt by those we love or have been the guilty party in the hurt. In reading this I am touched that he shows us a better way to reconcile challenging relationships. We have all had things happen between us and those we love. Sometimes we were at fault and other times the other party was in the wrong. Reconciliation is at its best when the talks begin by remembering and honoring the past relationship when things were good. By focusing on the good in others we pave the way for laying aside the bad. Any relationship from God is worth taking a second look at when things are broken. Like Paul, we must approach those who are in our lives with love, respect and remembrance of the joyful fellowship shared in the past. We must rely on God’s healing and love to mend these hearts. We cannot allow ‘sorrowful visits’ from the past to define our future relationships. When there is disharmony with those we love, there is a small rip in the fabric of our hearts. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation with those whom God has placed in our lives. God reconciled us to Him through Christ Jesus and it is our call to do likewise with others. God will give us everything we need to accomplish these reconnections in Him.

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…And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.’ 2 Co 5:18-19.

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