I have always liked the idea that the New Year can be the perfect time for a fresh start and new beginnings. I believe one of the greatest ways to accomplish this is by putting to rest any unresolved conflicts we have through the acts of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Everyone will encounter forgiveness and reconciliation in their lives – they are arguably key aspects of humanity. We have been made in God’s image but with unique personalities, backgrounds, and opinions. And this is a great thing! As we come together, we have the potential to produce incredible displays of unity and strength. But such differences sometimes result in tension and conflict. The Bible tells us how each one of us have sinful tendencies and earthly motives that can negatively affect our relationship with others and -ultimately – our relationship with God (James 4). We may have needed to be forgiven by someone or we may have taken the painful steps to forgive others who have wronged us.
As Christians, we have experienced the greatest act of forgiveness, by God Himself. As Jesus reconciled us to Himself, He first showed how each of us were separate from God and His presence. Yet there was no way for us to work ourselves into a relationship with Him or to earn His favour back. Despite God knowing every single wrong thing we had ever done and will do, He chose to forgive us and send His Son to die on the cross so that we could be reconciled to Him. What an incredible image of forgiveness!
Paul writes to the believers in Colossae urging them to ‘forgive as the Lord forgave you’. God showed radical forgiveness by reconciling us when we did not deserve it. Therefore, we are called to also forgive others who have no means of earning our forgiveness; to show them God’s grace even when we have been hurt. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9)’. Jesus calls us to be the peacemakers in society. It can be tempting to ignore our current grievances or to avoid those we do not get on with. However, the Bible urges us to reflect God in the way that we handle conflict and tension. This may look like being the first to say sorry, choosing not to retaliate in a difficult situation or maybe even reaching out to those who are seen as unforgivable and irreconcilable.
Lila Jones is PF’s Operations Team Administrator.
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