We were studying this verse in our home group a little while back. When the meaning of the verse became clear, the reaction was swift and loud. “What? Wait a minute! I thought that we only have to confess our sin to God to be forgiven!” … “We have to go and ask forgiveness of the person we have wronged! No way!” … “Who does that? No one does that! I’m not doing that!” Their refreshingly honest reactions to this principle opened the way to a deep discussion about true repentance, which includes a desire to mend fences. It also allowed us to recognize once again our need to depend on the Spirit’s strength to overcome our fear and pride in order to take the very uncomfortable step of initiating reconciliation when we are the person in the wrong. Frankly, I hate putting this verse into practice… until I have put it into practice.
Then, I am so grateful that God has given me the courage to do so, as I experience the loving embrace of my reconciled child, the gracious forgiveness of my offended mate, or the deepening of my relationship with a friend who had experienced the brunt of my frustration.Imagine what would happen in our families, in our workplace, in our church or in our community if we all trusted God for the courage to go and ask forgiveness of every person we have ever harmed!
Father, thank you for calling me to truly repent of all the wrong I do by commanding me to go and be reconciled to every person I have harmed. Thank you for your Spirit, who gives me the courage and wisdom to overcome my pride and fear and do this. Thank you that so often, this leads to deeper and more loving relationships as people respond with love and grace to my request for forgiveness! Amen.
Today, take the time to ask God to show you if there is anyone you need to approach in His courage and strength to ask forgiveness for a wrong you have done. If there is someone, prayerfully develop a plan to reconcile before the week ends.
Photo Credit: Teddy Kelley