Reconciliation can be difficult. I know families that have been torn apart and have stayed apart for years because a brother, sister, mother, father, aunt or uncle did something that upset one or more family members, and they never got over it.
Infidelity can produce a breakdown in trust that is hard to overcome and move beyond. Sometimes, a friend or family member will say or do something that will make another so angry that their relationship is never the same.
Jesus reminds us the importance of reconciling our dangling relationships. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus interjects words about reconciliation as a preliminary step to a spiritual life:
Matthew 5: 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift
Jesus also warns us to deal with our anger so that it does not lead us astray from the pursuit of God and the life God would have us to live.
Matthew 5: 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. 
I encourage you to pause for a moment, and ask yourself, is there a relationship I need to repair? Is there someone who has devastated me with their behavior, and I am not sure I even want to forgive them? If I have hurt someone that I love, am I willing to humble myself to ask for their forgiveness? The following is a process I would recommend for reconciliation:
- Acknowledge anger, hurt and dismay at the behavior of another person.
- Engage in conversation to express your feelings.
- If you are the offending person, offer an apology for your behavior that includes a promise not to behave in that manner again.
- If you are the person who has been hurt, pray to the Lord for direction and try to accept the apology.
- Both persons must commit to move forward, despite the pain that has been caused.
Note: authentic reconciliation requires a commitment from both persons. Without a two-person commitment, the reconciliation will not work.
Questions for Reflection:
- What steps are required for authentic reconciliation?
- Can there be a genuine reconciliation if one or both parties refuses to forgive or to accept the forgiveness of the other person?
- Why do you think Jesus made these remarks about reconciliation in Matthew chapter 5?
- Is there someone you have not reconciled with? Why?
Prayer: When I have wronged another person, Lord, grant me the strength to offer an apology. When my words and actions have hurt someone, Lord, teach me to say, “I am sorry.” Lord, when someone I love has acted in a manner that has ruined my trust, caused me to question their faithfulness, and cut me like a knife though butter, grant me the strength to forgive, and the power to give them another chance to break my heart again. Even when my heart is crushed, grant me the power and courage to attempt to reconcile and move forward in love. Lord, you are my light. Lord, you are my courage. Lord, you are my inspiration. Help me now to move forward in love. In Jesus name. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Hon. Denise Page Hood
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/