This week in our series on the life of Peter, we’re looking at Peter’s BOLD sin (Luke 22) and restoration (John 21).
Thefreedictionary.com defines the word “reconcile” this way – to reestablish a close relationship. Another way to define the word is to restore fully.
When Jesus restored Peter in John 12, He was reestablishing a close relationship with Peter. He was restoring fully the relationship they once had before Peter denied knowing Jesus. We often say that just because we forgive someone, it doesn’t mean that we have to trust that person. But in saying this, are we putting conditions on our forgiveness of others? Conditions that could keep us from fully restoring the relationship? Sure, there are different consequences and outcomes to different sins. It may be very difficult to restore trust in someone who has betrayed you. But aren’t we called to be reconciled to one another (Matthew 5:23-24; Luke 12:58; 1 Corinthians 7:11)? And if we’re called to be reconciled to one another, then shouldn’t we make every effort to fully restore that relationship?
Will that always be easy? No. Is it possible? Always, unless the other party is unwilling to be forgiven (unrepentant) or is unwilling to forgive you if you are in the wrong. But on your end of it, your reconciliation with God through Christ must
compel you to make every effort to be reconciled with those who’ve wronged you and with those you’ve wronged (Romans 14:19
; Ephesians 4:1-3
; Hebrews 12:14-15
; 2 Peter 1:3-9
). It will take time to rebuild trust, but it can be rebuilt. It will take time to heal the wounds, but they can be healed. It will take time to be fully restored, but it can
happen, and it be the goal we have in mind when we extend forgiveness or when we ask for it.
Reconciliation doesn’t happen merely by our own effort. It takes an overflowing amount of God’s grace in our own lives to keep our hearts softened so that He can shape us to be more like Him. If we choose to try reconciliation without God’s grace, we will fail. If the other party is unrepentant or is unwilling to extend grace and forgiveness to you, then God will deal with that person’s heart. What matters is your obedience to what God has called you to, and that is to be reconciled to God, to forgive others as Christ forgave you, and to make every effort to be reconciled to one another.
God went to great lengths to reconcile us to Himself. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, anyone who receives His forgiveness has been fully restored. No matter what you’ve done to break the relationship, Jesus paid the price to reconcile it. Thanks be to God for this glorious gift! May we follow His example and, by His grace, make every effort to be reconciled to one another.
Who do you need to be reconciled to? What is keeping you from fully restoring that relationship?