forgiveness, lets love in, as a previous post, “from listening to love”, pointed out. But the true gift of forgiveness is that it unlocks the door and provides the path for reconciliation to enter in and make her home with us. Reconciliation is one of God’s good gifts, the miracle of healing for our broken relationships, the miracle of restoration, returning to us what unforgiveness has robbed us of through the years.
We are all in desperate need of reconciliation. We have been since the fall, which refers to Adam and Eve’s (and through them mankind’s) falling out with God which took place in the Garden so long ago. This falling out happened because Eve and Adam decided to do things their way rather than God’s way. They decided to trust themselves rather than trust the One who had created their garden, who had created them, who had created the universe and everything in it. They thought they knew better than their Creator, so they disobeyed His instructions and ended up hiding from Him, guilty and ashamed. Separation had taken place. Reconciliation was needed. Forgiveness would make reconciliation possible. Without forgiveness, they would remain separated from God. So would we. So would I.
We long for connectedness and community (as facebook attests to) but we don’t seem to be able to achieve it or to sustain it. We are alienated from our Creator and we find ourselves alienated from each other as well; from those we live with, from those we work with, from those we share this planet with. God has provided the solution to our alienation problem. God has made a way for us to be forgiven and with that forgiveness comes reconciliation to Him. God accomplished all this when He sent Jesus here to live and walk among us.
“For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, 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. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation-” (Colossians 1:19-22)
Forgiveness frees us from accusation and makes reconciliation possible. Once we are reconciled to God, we can be reconciled to each other. God has already prepared the path that makes this possible. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Forgiveness is that necessary stepping stone to reconciliation. Without forgiveness reconciliation cannot take place. It is forgiveness that lets in love, love allows the healing necessary to restore what was broken. Jesus told His disciples to forgive others ” . . . not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” which meant there was no limit to how often they should forgive others. In Colossians 3:13 we are told to “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Because Joseph was able to forgive his brothers, (the brothers who had put him in a pit, then sold him into slavery) he was able to be reconciled to them and to his father, who thought he was dead. Because the father of the prodigal son was able to forgive him, the son was restored to his family through reconciliation. King David was forgiven by God and restored to right relationship with Him.
The gift of forgiveness is the miracle of reconciliation and restoration that we experience in our relationships when we practice forgiveness in our daily lives. Because I have experienced and received forgiveness so often and so freely from my Heavenly Father, I am able to extend that same forgiveness to those around me. I can do no less. I am commanded to do no less.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
God’s forgiveness of my sins allows me to be reconciled to Him. Like the father of the prodigal son, He stood ready to forgive me even when I was still a long way off. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) He didn’t wait for us to have a change of heart or for us to ask for forgiveness – He made a way for us to receive His forgiveness and the reconciliation that would come with it.
“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:10-11)
The deepest longing of my heart – to be connected to my Creator and connected to those around me – satisfied through God’s gift of forgiveness, which He extends to me and to you. Being reconciled through forgiveness to God then allows me to be reconciled through forgiveness to those around me whom I love and long to be connected to.
I have received God’s gift of forgiveness. It is a gift that is meant to be given to others generously. ” . . . Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)
yes, forgiveness opens the door and lets in love, reconciliation and restoration.
” . . . But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47)
sincerely, Grace Day