Tag Archives: reconciliation

The Starting Point

They had enjoyed an unusually close friendship at work.  It started out as a mentoring relationship as the older woman showed her the ropes.  But soon they became friends – more than friends, really – a special bond developed.  They were both surprised and delighted to discover, one day, they were mother and daughter, separated at birth and now reunited.  No wonder the connection between them had seemed so natural.  The separation had been repaired, the relationship restored.

As you consider that amazing, true story, put these two verses together:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  (Genesis 1:27)
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.   (Matthew 22:36-38)
Can you see why that commandment is first, is of primary importance?  Repairing and restoring that relationship is the starting point for everything else.


Have you burned your bridges to God?  Wandered too far?  Lots of people feel that way. But Jesus taught this truth:. If you want to go back, you cannot have gone too far from God.  Maybe what really is causing you to stay away is the fear you would not be received well. Jesus understood why people feel that way. That is partly why He told the story of the Prodigal Son.  To help us come to grips with God’s astonishing love and grace.

It’s easy to miss the passionate details He included.  He didn’t merely say, “The Father was glad his son returned.”. Take some time to consider what He did say, and to imagine God the Father receiving you home like this:

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  (Luke 15:20)

Jesus was not exaggerating. What are you waiting for?

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (​James 4:8a)

Taproot – Part 2

We have all been hurt by love, at least by what was called love.  So when we hear, “God loves you and wants to be joined with you in a love relationship” (see previous post – Taproot – Part 1), we may put our guard up.  But God’s love is nothing like the human distortions of love.

For example: When humans say “I love you,” most of the time they mean, “I want you.”  But God’s love is not selfish, it is otherish, youish (my spellchecker has just melted down…).  God’s love, His desire to be close with us, is motivated by what would be most beneficial for us.  If you are thinking that’s like giving us cod liver oil, think, “… what would be most wonderful for us.”

Compare the consequences of the separation from God, told in Genesis with the consequences of reconciliation, portrayed in Revelation. 

After separation:
To the woman he said,  “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
      To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,  since from it you were taken;
for dust you are and to dust you will return.” –  (Genesis 3:16-19)

After reconciliation:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  –  (Revelation 21:4)

By inviting us to be united with Him in love, God desires to restore everything to the way He intended, for our blessing.  There is no need for us to guard ourselves from God’s love.  We will never be hurt by it, only blessed.

Taproot – Part 1

What does God want from us?  Actually, it’s what He wants for us.  It’s love.  God loves us; He wants us to really know that love and respond in kind.  His desire is for us to be in a love relationship with Him.  But what does that look like? 

Let’s start with this: He wants us to be with Him.  Love works best when lovers are together.  In the first few pages of the Bible, the humans doubted God’s love and broke the togetherness they had with God.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.  But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”  –  (Genesis 3:8-9)

God loves us and wants to be with us, connected by love.  When He announced the coming Messiah, He called Him Immanuel – God with us (Isaiah 7:14).  Jesus came to seek us and make it possible for us to be reconciled to our Father.

Turn from the earliest pages of the Bible to the very end and see this goal of love fulfilled:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  –  (Revelation 21:3)

There’s more to this – lots more.  But keep this thought and chew on it: God loves you and wants to be with you.


When you are in the doghouse, there’s no use pretending.  A busted love relationship brings down everything else.  You may not be sure what went wrong (especially if you are a guy!), but there’s no denying that the tension needs fixing.  Papering over conflict with smiles and nice talk doesn’t work.  Caving in, going along to get along is worse.  Both attempts are temporary at best and lead to sullen, resentment.  But when someone initiates real repair by doing whatever is necessary to truly reconcile the broken relationship, the results can be exhilarating.

It was God Who took the initiative to repair our broken relationship with Him.  Paul described it like this:

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him (Jesus – See: Seeing the Invisible),  and through him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. –  (Colossians 1:19-20 – with my comment)

Carefully note that it was God Who took the initiative.  And, He did not give in and say, “Let’s just pretend everything is OK now.”  He did everything necessary to truly repair the break.  The sobering, necessary cost was the blood payment for our sin.

Notice also that His act reconciled “all things” to Himself, not the other way around.  When you reconcile your bank statement, in almost every case it is your figures that must be adjusted to match the bank’s record; you change to reconcile to the bank.  God did not lower Himself to adjust to our sinfulness, but reached down through Jesus to lift us up to Himself.

The end result is peace.  Peace is not pretending to get along, it is the absolute, settled, restoration of the way things between us were always meant to be.  Peace wipes out all tension.  God, through Jesus, made this peace.  He took the initiative and He accomplished it.

You know, because you have been there, when your partner makes the first move to reconcile your relationship, it requires a certain humility to receive that act of love.  But if you are willing, you exchange brittle tension for peace and joy.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ … God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation…We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20 – excerpts)

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.


Post Election Prayer

Here’s my fantasy: A skilled mediator meets in private with two government leaders from opposing sides of the aisle, coaching each of them to listen attentively to the other until they each could articulate the others position to his (or her) satisfaction.  Each of them would keep trying until his adversary would smile involuntarily, and say, “Yeah, that’s right; you completely understand.”  Then, and only then, they could look for any area of common understanding, Hopefully, they could proceed from there, working together to govern in a harmonious way.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Much of that scenario comes from principles Jesus taught His followers about settling disputes:

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)

Notice these important principles:

  • Reconciliation works best when the parties meet in private.
  • If you are feeling wounded, take personal responsibility to initiate reconciliation.
  • Listening is the key to understanding.
  • If you cannot agree, still keep it small and private, but bring in a couple of neutral witnesses because it is possible that you are wrong.

The last part of Jesus’ teaching pertains especially to followers of Jesus in a church setting.  Local churches are supposed to operate as a bodies.  If a part of your body has caused hurt to the rest of your body, the rest of your body acts in a united way to take care of it, to bring the offending part back into line.  For example, perhaps you have heartburn: your whole body gets up and goes to get an antacid. You chew it and swallow it, working to restore peace.  When such a thing happens in a church and is not resolved easily in private, it is necessary to see if, working together, the whole church body can restore harmony.

If not, Jesus says, “…treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector” (the worst example of a social outcast).  How does Jesus teach us to treat pagans and outcasts?  He commands us to love them and tell them about the good news!  To reach out to them and invite them into the fellowship of Jesus’  followers in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I know, I know: ain’t no way Congress is going to resemble the Kingdom of Heaven.  But my prayer is for the believing Senators and Representatives to obey Jesus and start acting as though it could.

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.