Reconciliation with God means that your friendship with God has been restored. The type of reconciliation that I am describing is possible because God chooses to love you. You have been reconciled and not just you, but everyone and all of this is possible because of Jesus and what is known as grace.
Our capacity to understand the fullness of God’s love is very limited. However, when someone confesses, repents and seeks forgiveness something miraculous happens, His grace and love expands the capacity of our minds and hearts to experience the richness of his love toward us (Ephesian 1:17-18, 2:1-8).
We can be reconciled to God and one another because of his loving kindness toward us. When someone confesses, repents and seeks forgiveness they acknowledge their actions or behaviors as being the opposite of everything that represents God’s love, grace, holiness and power. Reconciliation has such depth that you will want to learn much more that what these few paragraphs has to offer you. Simply stated, reconciliation means, God loves you and does not want you to be separated from him.
Repentance means much more than being remorseful about one’s sinful or self-centered behaviors. To repent means to move beyond your way of thinking and embrace God’s view of things.
Benefits of Repentance
- A man may have hidden his personal struggles from his wife which led to broken trust in their relationship. His repentance, will allow him to move beyond any cultural or family of origin values that defined manhood for him, such as men are strong and silent. In God’s kingdom men are models of love, vulnerability and humility.
- A woman may have suspected that her husband was struggling but she remained silent. Her repentance, will allow her to move beyond any cultural or family of origin values that defined women as responders rather than leaders and coequal with their husbands. She will be free to ask questions about his purity, integrity and how he spends his time.
What you do with God you do with your spouse.
Whenever we sin, repentance is our response to God’s grace. In this way, we reconcile with God. The same is true when we have sinned against our spouse. We must confess, repent and seek forgiveness. A spouse cannot avoid the consequences of their actions by thinking, God has forgiven me so I don’t need to do confess to my husband or wife.
In many instances, after hearing a confession of sins from their spouse, a tidal wave of emotion floods out of the person who was sinned against, eliciting some sinful or harsh responses. These behaviors will also require a repentant heart when things settle down a bit. These responses are not comparable to the broken trust that hurled the relationship into a crisis. However, God has asked us to own our sinful behaviors. We cannot blame or dismiss ourselves due to what someone else has done to us. The person who broke trust is responsible for the actions that they committed and the offended person is responsible for the manner in which they responded.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31 TNIV). In the verses before and after this, Jesus gives examples of how we are to act toward and respond to other people. He does not make any distinction. We are sometimes tempted like little children to excuse our actions, “but he did it to me first.” Everyone has a broken nature. The reality of our broken humanity is evident whenever we are betrayed. When someone harms me, I have the choice to respond out of my brokenness or out of the grace that I have received from God.
When I am offended by my spouse do I…
- Lash out in anger?
- Call my spouse names?
- Hit or push my spouse?
- Make threats?
- Try to hurt my spouse in return?
- Emotionally shut down?
Or do I respond with grace…
- Being honest about my anger without allowing it to drive any inappropriate responses on my part
- Speaking respectfully even as I share my concerns or offenses
- Taking steps to cool down and regain self-control when I am feeling overwhelmed.
- Resisting the desire to use threats to control, manipulate or punish.
- Surrendering my desire for justice to God.
Identify any changes that you want to make in the way you respond whenever you become offended. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What changes would you like to see in the way your spouse responds when he or she is offended by your actions?