Recently, I wrote reflective questions about pursuing reconciliation based on Matthew 5:23-26. To read the JourneyOn Today passage and reflective questions, click here.
I could tell that this passage and theme touched a nerve when I began receiving emails from various readers.
One person shared that she pulled away from a few family members because of toxic circumstances, but that she was feeling led to pursue reconciliation and open the lines of communication. Here was my response:
I don’t know all your story or circumstances, but let me affirm that I do believe there are appropriate times of distancing oneself from a group (i.e. family) in order to deal with a dysfunction, abusive relationship, etc. My sense is that you were not wrong to set this boundary, and perhaps that was a necessary step towards relational health.
At the same time, it seems that the Lord may have you at a healthy enough place to open up the lines of communication and pursue reconciliation. If that is the case, I pray for His wisdom and grace as you take the needed steps.
Another question came from a friend asking about a believer’s responsibility if they are the ones who have been offended? Other than a willingness to forgive, are we called to pursue reconciliation in this situation? Here was my attempt to address this difficult question:
I think it depends on the circumstances, but certainly there is cause for prayer and seeking God’s wisdom. Sometimes pursuing forgiveness in our heart is all we can do. But sometimes the Lord may be calling us to do more. Even if we are the one offended, sometimes the Lord may lead us to seek out reconciliation. . . As Romans 5:6-8 reminds us, it was while we offended God that He demonstrated His love and pursued reconciliation with us through the cross.
How about you? Does this topic touch a nerve? Does your mind and heart drift to that ruptured relationship? Often, there is not a formulaic answer or “one-size-fits-all” response. But are you willing to surrender this relationship to Christ? Are you willing to be obedient and do what the Lord is calling you to do? What does it look like to love? To forgive? To be reconciled?
The path of following Christ is never an easy one. But it is the path of life.