It takes 1 to forgive, 2 to reconcile

As Christians we recognize the immense importance of forgiving. We know that we have been forgiven, that the ransom has been paid at extremely high cost to rid us of our sins, debts or trespasses. We are commanded to love. We can’t both love and harbor the bitterness of unforgiveness toward the same person in our hearts. I recently wrote about the cost of forgiveness and how it is borne by the person who does the forgiving. (Who bears the cost of forgiveness?)

Sometimes we confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. To reconcile is to restore friendly relations or harmony. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not one and the same. While we cannot have true reconciliation without forgiveness, we can forgive without achieving reconciliation.

It only takes one to forgive

When we forgive we wipe away the sin, debt or trespass. It is no longer owed. That doesn’t mean there is no cost. Most often there is. We can’t later try to “collect” on that particular thing. The forgiveness may or may not have any impact on the one being forgiven. An example would be forgiving someone who broke the windshield of your car. You still bear the cost, but the offender may never know that they’ve been forgiven. What you done is clear out the bitterness. In us humans, forgiveness often does more for the forgiver than the one being forgiven.

When we accept Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, when we become His disciples by following His commands, we receive His grace… unmerited and undeserved. If we are to love one another as He loves us, we must also give forgiveness, grace unconditionally.

It takes two to reconcile

While we can forgive freely and independently, restoring harmony is two-way street. We can’t force anyone else to accept our forgiveness, just as God does not force us to accept His gift of grace. (That’s Free Will at work) For a variety of reasons, reconciliation may not happen and may not even be possible.

Here’s a key thought, my friends:

While forgiveness may pave the path to reconciliation, it CANNOT be a condition for forgiveness. Conditional forgiveness is not grace. In fact, it is not forgiveness at all. It just establishes another contract.

Shalom, Art
Alive in The Word

My thanks to Pastor Adam whose message is the root of this blog.

About aliveintheword

Missouri, USA Married to Marty, 45 years 2 sons (with 2 daughers-in-law) and 2 granddaughters Life dedicated to serving Jesus Christ and delivering the Good News
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9 Responses to It takes 1 to forgive, 2 to reconcile

  1. Pingback: Forgiveness « Oregon Pilgrim

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  3. Pingback: It takes 1 to forgive, 2 to reconcile | ChristianBlessings « Nesapfich WB

  4. Pingback: Forgiveness Abused, Part One « Nesapfich WB

  5. granbee says:

    Wonderful teaching here, Art, on the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. We must FREELY, with no strings attached, forgive each other–and ourselves!

  6. Pingback: Steps To True Forgiveness | Three Passions Lingerie Blog

  7. I agree with all you say here. We MUST forgive. Firstly, unforgiveness breaks our fellowship with our God and secondly it festers within us and produces unwelcome results within ourselves. Our unforgiving spirit also affects others. On the other hand, when we forgive another, we know the peace that passes understanding and we are at peace with ourselves.

    I agree that a close relationship disturbed by an offence may not result in reconciliation. Even if there are no hard feelings on either side and a friendship is re-established, the former closeness is not usually regained.

  8. ptl2010 says:

    Matthew 5:24 Christ says, “If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest (not that thou hast a grudge against thy brother but) that thy brother hath aught against thee”–the brother who was the offended one, he is the one to be brought round–“leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Plainly it means that he should do something to remove his brother’s displeasure and so bring about a reconciliation. The injunction is given by Christ to the one who is at variance with his brother, not to complete his offering until first he has been reconciled to his brother. The whole statement shows that it is not a question of the one who is offering the gift laying aside his enmity against his brother, but the reverse; through Him.
    Col 1:20, “And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him i say, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.”. The peace has been established between God and man and now it is possible between man and man.

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