The operative noun in the Christian faith

You cannot reconcile broken relationships on your own because you have no control over the other person.

You cannot make them reconcile or even come to the table to discuss the possibility of reconciliation. Instead of reconciliation, what if the goal for a broken relationship is to be able to live with no regret. That is something you can control.

What if the win is found in knowing you did everything you knew to do to make things right? You can take the initiative, roll out the red carpet and do your part to restore the relationship because of a sincere desire to reconnect with that other person.

No matter whose fault it was or is, I always have a part to play in the process of reconciliation. Now, this is where it gets sticky. This is especially true for those who claim to follow Jesus. Reconciliation is about restoring a broken relationship. Reconciliation is the operative noun in the Christian faith. The gospel is a story of reconciliation. If you are a Christian, the story of your redemption is a message of reconciliation.

God wanted more than forgiveness in his relationship with humanity. He wanted the relationship to be restored. Forgiveness is only half of the equation. You can forgive someone at a distance. You can forgive someone and never make any attempt to reconcile. But reconciliation is the ultimate win. That is true in our relationship with God, and it is true in our relationships with one another. According to Jesus, the two go hand in hand.

But let’s face it, forgiveness is easier. When it comes to forgiveness, I hold all of the cards. I get to make the decision to forgive. Since God forgave me, I can choose to forgive others as I have been forgiven. I am in the driver’s seat when it comes to forgiveness. I control whether I will choose to forgive or not.

Reconciliation is not as easy. Reconciliation is often inconvenient. Sometimes, it is unsafe, and it may be unwise, but those are the exceptions. In some ways, I think we have tried to reduce Christianity to a simple formula that says, “God forgives me. I’ll forgive you. All is well.”

That approach keeps us looking up, but it does not require us to look around. God wants to do more than just forgive you. He wants to restore a relationship that was broken by sin. God’s forgiveness is about restoring what was broken. It is about coming back together.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor of The Point in Seymour. Read his blog at or email him at [email protected]. Send comments to [email protected].