FORGIVENESS VERSUS RECONCILIATION
By Richard (Dick) Innes
“We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”1
We know that we need to forgive all who have hurt or offended us, but are we to be reconciled to them? Wherever possible this ought to be our goal, but it isn’t always possible as reconciliation is dependent on both parties.
Primarily we need to be reconciled to God. We do this when we confess our sins to him and receive his forgiveness. However, for our own wellbeing, it is imperative that we forgive any and all who have hurt us. This can be extremely difficult if the one involved won’t even admit what s/he has done. This, then, makes genuine reconciliation almost impossible.
According to some folk, we can’t forgive this type of person. If this is so, some of us are going to carry grudges for a long time. In these instances, forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to forgive or we can cling to our hurt and anger and hurt ourselves.
To genuinely forgive we need to get rid of our hurt and anger by expressing these feelings, not necessarily to the one who hurt us, but to an understanding person to rid ourselves of these bottled-up, destructive emotions. Once we do this, forgiveness becomes possible even if there is never any reconciliation.
Keep in mind, too, that forgiveness doesn’t mean that we allow the person who hurt us to hurt us again. With these people, we need to have healthy boundaries to protect ourselves. Remember, too, that meekness is not weakness. Lack of healthy boundaries is.
“Dear God, please help me to forgive all who have hurt me and be reconciled to them wherever possible. But help me to forgive regardless of the other person’s response. And may I always admit and resolve my part in all conflicts and be reconciled to You. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
1. 2 Corinthians 5:20.