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“I forgive her,” we say, “but to be friends again? No way.”

Reconciliation, the restoration of friendly relations, is often a long and painful process, especially for those who are victims.

Reconciliation, the restoration of friendly relations, is often a long and painful process

Recently, the Prime Minister of Japan and President Obama stood side by side at Pearl Harbor. They mentioned reconciliation between the two countries. This is seventy-five years after the horrific events that transpired there.

Coming together is one of the themes of my New Year prayers. And, it has been echoed this week. Martin Luther King Day is just behind us. This is the annual week of international prayer for Christian Unity. The theme; reconciliation.

Reunion between countries can take generations. Fence-mending between individuals cannot afford to take so long. Few of us can take seventy-five years to be reconciled with our “enemy.”

Yet, we struggle to take steps and make them happen.

Often, we might be willing to forgive a person who has wronged us, but to be reunited with them is a different matter altogether. One we are not willing to do.

We forgive because it allows us to move on. We forgive because it enables us to get past the revenge we so often want to inflict back. We forgive because we have a God who has forgiven us.

Forgiveness is easier if we can also walk away from the relationship.

Yet, we are required to do more.

When the person who has hurt you doesn’t own up, it’s painful and hard to shake their hand or give them a hug. When we’ve wronged someone, and we’re not sure they’re ready to move on, we hesitate to make the first move, even to say sorry when we have nothing to be sorry for.

So how do you start down the hard steps to reconciliation?

Pray.

“Prayer is the salve for wounded parties; it is the lubricant for friction in relationships,” writes one author.

Pray because when we do, “we place both our unjust enemy and our own vengeful self face to face with a God who loves and does justice” says Miroslav Volf in Exclusion & Embrace.

Who do you need to pray about being reconciled with this year?

Sovereign God, so many people in our world are in need of reconciliation with each other and with you. In particular, I think of the conflict in the country of  _________________ and ________________. I ask you to bring peace to the leaders and people of these places. Closer to home, I think of the people in my life who I need to be reconciled with. In particular, I think of ________________. Help me to forgive and forget, and for them to do the same. Show me how I can make it right. Give me the courage to ___________________. Amen

Linking up with Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth

  • I believe with all my heart that we are most like God when we find His grace to forgive someone who is completely unworthy. It takes so much of God’s love to do this — and to keep on doing it without a “relapse” — that God is mightily glorified when we manage it (by his grace)!

  • Rachel, I really need this right now, especially where you say, “Often, we might be willing to forgive a person who has wronged us, but to be reunited with them is a different matter altogether. One we are not willing to do.” Wow, that cut through to my heart like a knife! That’s exactly how I feel about a friendship right now and it’s breaking and tearing my heart apart. I am praying for the Lord to work in me to not just forgive but reconcile. Thank you!

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