Friday, 11 May 2012

Go and Be Reconciled

The "Great Commission?" appears in the book of Matthew in chapter 28, in verses 18-20.  Jesus commanded his disciples to "Go and make disciples of all nations…."

Matthew 5:23-24 might be considered by some as "The Other Great Commission"-- and it may be even more challenging for us to fulfill. Going to reconcile with someone who has a complaint about us involves humility ("Why should I go to them after all they are the one who's upset?"),it involves empathy (attempting to see the situation from someone else's perspective), and it involves obedience (we go because Jesus commands us, not because we want to or even because we feel that reconciliation is possible). Are there any people in your life to whom you need to "go" today in order to be reconciled?   Okay how about someone you may need to contact this month?  Maybe there is a long-standing feud between you and a family member or former friend that God is inviting you to begin to address today through this reminder.

This is a multi-step process, particularly if you are uncertain as to your culpability.

First: In any case go to God in prayer.  If you know what you have done ask God to forgive you; to help you to refrain from a repeat of that behavior; and to give you the courage to face the person that you have offended in an effort to ask their forgiveness.  This is called repentance.  If you are uncertain but suspect you have done something ask God to reveal it to you.  It might require that you actually go to the person that you think you may have injured and say, “I believe that I have done or said something that offended you, if I am right would you be so kind as to tell me so I can repent?”

Second: Once you are aware and have taken it to the Lord and repented you need to face the person.  You need to ask the person to forgive you.  This must be very specific.  I’d like to ask you to forgive me for saying that “you are dumber than a stump.”  “I have asked the Lord to forgive me and now I am asking you.” 

Never use “weasel words”, i.e. “if I hurt you…”.  Never use “but if” or “because you”.  There are no excuses.  The other person didn’t make you do or say anything, you chose to act inappropriately.

Up until now I have kept this rather generic.  The issue could be between you and a relative, a neighbor, or a co-worker.  IF however the person who is most likely offended is the one with whom you brush your teeth every night summon the courage and confess today!

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