Forgive? Of course! But reconciliation? I don’t know about that...
In early March, our small group was discussing a sermon on forgiveness and reconciliation, and I shared about an old friend of mine. We had been close until about three years ago when he fell on hard times. I lent him money in an understanding that he would pay me back whenever he got back on his feet.
After three years, he had yet to put forth any effort to repay the debt. After finding out about numerous excursions, trips, and activities he had participated in, I felt betrayed, confused, and angry. I could forgive him for not paying the money back, but the fact that he seemed to ignore our situation would make it difficult for me to reconcile our friendship.
I had grown distant from him and shared with the group that if he were to ask for money again, I most likely wouldn’t be as generous. The guys in our small group prayed for reconciliation between us, and I left thinking, “How do I fix this?”
But even after that, I was still leaning on my own power rather than remembering Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and suffering with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I felt I had been wronged, and bitterness started to set in; after a few days I stopped thinking about what I could do for reconciliation.
Three weeks later, I received a call from my friend. He asked me, “Will, is there anything I have done to wrong you? I can tell that we have grown distant over the last few years.”
I was stunned, and after beating around the bush, I told him about the bitterness that crept up in me as I was waiting to be repaid. Immediately he stated he was extremely sorry and offered to pay me back right away. We were able to work out our differences, apologize to each other, and finally move forward in our friendship. Not only was it an answer to prayer, but truly ‘God at work’ in restoring and strengthening a bond.
God has given us the power to reconcile with each other, just as he has reconciled us to himself. We must remember 2 Corinthians 5:18: “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”