Handshake of Peace
Is there a relationship in your life that has in some way been severed or shattered? Is there a gap in a relationship that you feel is irreconcilable? Today, I want you to think about the possibility of reconciliation, restoration, and resolution in those relationships.
If you belong to Jesus, God’s purpose and plan is that you would find a way to live at peace with everybody. You may think this is impossible, but remember that with God all things are possible. Through the cross God made peace with you. He didn’t have to do this—he wasn’t threatened by you or need something from you. He wanted a relationship with you.
Thus, the cross is the template for reconciliation in your relationships. And the most important element in that reconciliation is the gospel. Jesus overcame evil with good, and he asks you to do the same by loving your enemies. However, if there is going to be reconciliation in your life, you are going to have to take the axe of grace and cut down the tree of bitterness and resentment. You are going to have to ask God to make that situation with the other person into a story that reflects his mercy.
Now, to do this will require supernatural power. After all, it’s not natural to forgive others who have wronged you. But as a Jesus follower you can see this possibility for peace, because you know that if God can make peace with you, he can make peace with anybody.
This is not to say peace will always happen—but it does rest on you to offer the opportunity. Scripture says “as far as it depends on you,” because you are the one who’s got the supernatural power of Jesus in your life. So it is on you to go as far as possible to seek the peace.
If you want to really stand out in life and become a peacemaker, you will have to go the second mile. You will have to refuse to allow destructive patterns to be reestablished in your life. You have to own your part in the hurt and let go of your need to get even or keep record of the wrong. You may have to end the relationship peacefully to live free of the unhealthy dynamics that brought the relationship down.
It is the Holy Spirit within you who enables this process of reconcilation to take place in shattered relationships. The same Spirit of God who birthed the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, can birth the process of peace between you and the person with whom you seek reconciliation. Your prayer needs to be, “God, I want you to be glorified in this more than I want to be right. I want this relationship restored—but Spirit of God, you are going to have to do this in me.” Then you can retire from retaliation, bankrupt your endeavor to get even, and walk with all the weight off of your shoulders. Because as far as it depended on you, you chose to live at peace with others—regardless of their response.
How have you responded in the past to broken relationships? How does your relationship with God impact how you handle hurt in a relationship?
What mindset is required for you to live at peace with others? What is God’s role in achieving justice in a wrongdoing? What part of this process is the most difficult for you?
How can you offer peace and forgiveness without enabling destructive behavior? How do you know when reconciliation is not possible?