«If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land» (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Reconciliation and forgiveness are closely linked even though they do not always meet each other. Forgiveness involves a voluntary act, free and unilateral, but reconciliation needs the participation of all the ones involved. Forgiveness precedes reconciliation; but only the latter will lead to the restoration of the damaged or destroyed relationship.
Wishing to become independent and to be free from the typical constraints of an industrious family, the young child asked in advance for his inheritance and left home, breaking the ties with his father. After a short period of time, he wasted everything he had and, in order to survive, worked as a caretaker of pigs. He then reflected on his rash behavior and decided to return home. He planned to express these words of repentance to his father, «Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants» (Luke 15:18-19). The biblical story tells us that his father recognized him from afar and ran to hug and kiss him. He almost did not let him talk and organized a great feast because of his return. The father-son connection was restored.
But in order to get there, they both had to overcome several obstacles. Pride is one of the main barriers that a person could have put up. If the son had thought: «I’m not going to go back this way,» or the father could have said: «He humiliated me,» the reconciliation would not have been possible. Reconciliation would not have been possible if the son had lied, denied his mistakes and pretended that he did nothing wrong. Pride, lies and indifference represent the main obstacles that impede reconciliation.
Today’s verse highlights e elements that facilitate reconciliation. Humility, a sincere confession and making the promise to avoid making the same mistakes again encourage reconciliation. In other words, talking about it in humility and truth without hiding the mistakes or justifying them is necessary in order to restore the connection. Another noteworthy action is being ready to restore the damage and bear the consequences of the wrong acts.
Generally speaking, arguments between people have shared responsibilities. In order to clarify misunderstandings and differences, Jesus established for the church a ceremony called foot-washing. It is the moment of true dialogue by remembering the mistakes and asking for forgiveness and putting pride aside.
Are we ready to let pride go? Can we acknowledge our mistakes that led to damage in the relationship? Ask God to help you to make reconciliation plans