It had been a week since Brad had asked for forgiveness. And I still wasn’t budging. Although I had forgiven him in the sense that I love him, can see past this sin, and still want to be friends for life, our relationship had not been reconciled. Reconciliation is about restoring the relationship – coming back to the place we were, overflowing with joy that God brought us together, shouting our family motto, laughing together. There was no laughter. No joy. No shouting – well, the good kind of shouting, anyway.
You see, when God forgives us, we are immediately reconciled to Him.
but now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him (NETBible, Colossians 1:22)
And I did not yet see my husband this way. Instead, when I looked at him, I saw the man who hurt me – who would hurt me again. My hurt personified itself in the cold shoulder, fake smiles, and other curt gestures. I wanted to be restored, and I felt my heart yearning for that true forgiveness, but it just wasn’t happening this time.
While I was away at the store, I thought to myself, When I get home, I WILL be joyful. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, and I knew that. You can’t muster this stuff up. It comes from the overflow of grace and mercy that God Himself has given to us:
And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. (NETBible, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
The “ministry” and “message” of reconciliation – that ministry did finally come to my husband, but not because of something I did. I asked God for help. He is the reconciler and the mediator. It’s truly wonderful to see how He restores us to Himself and even to each other!
Thank you, God, for the ministry of reconciliation – the restoration that You offer freely through the blood of Christ. I am so unworthy and humbled to receive it. I am even more lowly to give it. I cannot be as magnanimous as You, but I ask that You increase that part of my heart. Let this be a picture to the world of how worthy You are.