Practicing Reconciliation

God’s People and Reconciliation

Unity and Reconciliation of the Church Part 2

OVERVIEW & PURPOSE

This lesson will outline some of the biblical commands we are to obey as we love one another.  You will focus on your personal responsibility to follow clear biblical commands instead of your family or cultural practices.

All good theology is relational not simply propositional.

All of my problems in life, at their root, are relational.

Main ideas

  1. The First Step

When there is a break in the experience of Christ like love between people reconciliation rests on someone taking the first step.  To begin reconciliation involves going face to face, offering words that describe the sin or offense and giving or receiving forgiveness.

God took the first step in reconciling with us.  Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Ephesians 2:13-21.  The death of Christ was not only a sin sacrifice it also broke down barriers of racial distance and formed God’s people as “one”.

We are to take the first step.

Matthew 18:15-20 – If you recognize you have been sinned against before the other person you are to GO.

Matthew 5:23-26 – If you are in worship and realize you sinned against someone you are to leave worship and GO.

To grow spiritually will always involve repentance or movement toward God’s truth, grace, and love.  The steps of repentance always involve:

  • Exposure — bringing light on my current attitudes, words or behaviors.
  • Disruption — Accepting that the current life choices are never going to produce the love, joy, peace and freedom God intends for his reconciled children.
  • Enticement — Moving toward and accepting God’s grace and truth and finding his Spirit in us gives us the capacity to forgive and rebuild relationships.

Jesus lived in a shame based culture which frequently avoided direct confrontation and devised indirect channels to communicate.  But even in this culture Jesus says God’s plan is for us to GO to one another.

We  don’t avoid the person and talk to others about the break.  As my mentor Roberston McQuilkin told from his experience as a missionary in Japan, “THE ABSENT ARE SAFE WITH US.”

  1. What if the separation is not over a sinful wounding but is a strong disagreement?  Again, Robertson had a question to guide him as President of Columbia International University, “Do I want to win or do I want to see healing and repairing of the gap?”

1 Corinthians 6:5-8 The example Paul gives is a financial disagreement but I believe the principles apply to many disagreements.  There are two options.

First, The disagreeing people agree to submit to and accept the judgement of a wise person in the church.  They each present their perspective and then live by the ruling of the wise fellow believer.

Second, If there is no acceptable person of wisdom present then Paul’s approach is, “Unity and loving one another is such a basic foundational rule of BEING God’s people then volunteer to take the loss.  Just let it go.  Give it up.  And move on to restore the love.  Surrender personal rights for the sake of the community.  A challenging idea for us hyper individualists.

ACTIVITY

There will be some more parts to this series and I will also add videos.

You can begin by doing your study of the passages I have highlighted and then begin to look carefully at past and present breaks in unity. 

If you missed part one here is the link to the handout.  

PART ONE

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