Does Forgiveness Mean Reconciliation?
When it comes to forgiveness; the reasons people forgive are vast. As I have counseled people one thing seems to be a common denominator for them is that they want things to go back to the way they were. They don’t understand why they aren’t reconciled. The belief was that forgiveness was the path to reconciliation. So the question for the day is does forgiveness mean reconciliation? With people. Nope. With the Lord. Yes. And this is where people get confused.
Forgiveness does not automatically mean reconciliation and for a variety of reasons that we must examine for full understanding.
1) You are not who you were before you forgave. This confuses people although it’s true. Once you forgive you are not the same person. Therefore trying to be reconciled with the person and things the way they were really is not possible. You are not who you were to go back to do what you once did.
2) You are no longer bound by former patterns, perceptions and behaviors. When you forgive you are changed which means the way you think, behave and perceive everything will be different. When you are changed internally it reflects externally. For example; before I forgave my biological mother and even my adoptive mother I had certain perceptions of each of them. Because of the level of unforgiveness I carried my thoughts and actions were grounded in that arena. Once I forgave everything changed. My thinking changed and my perception too was corrected to be in alignment with God’s Word. Not being bound by lies of the enemy changes everything; including your think which is the transformation Paul talks about in Romans 12.
3) The relationship and person (even yourself) you forgave will be different. If someone did a terrible thing to you and you forgave know that the relationship will be different. It cannot go back to what it one was and therefore; what you may find is that there were things in the relationship there all along you just chose to not pay attention to them or justify them. As such what you couldn’t see before will come to light and through that act of forgiveness the relationship will change. Now; it doesn’t mean that it won’t stay in tact or even grow as in the case of infidelity but what it does mean is that change is evident. Many marriages today can be saved if only people were more willing to forgive; truly forgive. On the other side; in any relationship the differences in it may simply mean that forgiveness was all it took for you to take the next step forward toward your new life; and one that is free and filled with forgiveness.
When I went through the process of forgiveness I didn’t know 1) what I was doing, 2) how much my life truly would change. I was reconciled with my biological mother but not my adoptive mother. Either way; I forgave and above all ensured my level of obedience to the Lord was where it should be. And this leads me to how forgiveness means reconciliation with the Lord.
When you seek the Lord and really enter into His presence and you desire to be free from the pain of the others, the past, yourself; and even what God has allowed in your life you are taking a step forward. A big bold step that many don’t venture to; even those sitting in the building on Sundays. You are seeking something bigger; higher- more precious.
As you begin to recognize that others are just as guilty as you are and that you are no different than they are you lay it all down you will find that Jesus is with you. The other thing you will find is that your forgiveness isn’t really about what ‘they’ did but about what you are doing now. When you truly see that you are guilty just by harboring that unforgiveness in the first place it changes everything. You see; they are not let off the hook for what they did- but your unforgiveness won’t let you off either.
The level of unforgiveness you choose to keep will haunt you and destroy you like the thief in the night who comes to steal everything you have; including your soul. When you let go of what you have been harboring you will be free. It’s all in Acts 3:19 where we are told to repent and seek forgiveness so that times of refreshing may come. It’s through the repentance and seeking of forgiveness that you are reconciled to the Father. You can’t be reconciled otherwise.
As you let go of what others have done to focus on what you can do you will change. Your choice to be obedient is what will change you; and God Almighty will take care of the rest. He will work on your behalf. He will make you new and whole and restored in Him. You may not have those relationships the way they once were; but they weren’t meant to stay that way.
As you forgive know you are venturing toward unchartered territory with the Lord and that many, most really; can’t go where you are. They simply can’t. You are the one seeking, you are the one knocking and asking and the Lord will answer you when you call out. You will be reconciled in relationship with Him because He is just and the blocks of unforgiveness will no longer separate. You will have your new life abounding while being transformed into who He intended the entire time. And as for the others; you can thank the Lord that He brought you through it and pray that they too would be reconciled to the Father who loves them just as much as He loves you. And you focus on the things above; your life will represent it. It will be that of love and forgiveness always regardless of anything else because you know that He is worth it.
For more about living in love and forgiveness watch ‘Living in Forgiveness’ weeknights at 9:30pm CST on the UANetwork.
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