“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.” – Ephesians 4:1–6
What is Paul saying here?
“With humility and gentleness, be patient with each other in love, in the sense of enduring possible difficulty (not harshness or irritation).” – Ephesians 4:2
“With intense motivation and effort do your best to keep the unity between you, the unity of the Holy Spirit’s peace and its strategic ‘building-each-other-up’ connection.” – Ephesians 4:3
Reconcile – restore relationship
“making allowance for each others’ faults because of your love,” – Ephesians 4:3
“Every man should keep a fair sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends.” – Henry Ward Beecher
We are human. How is this possible?
We’re going to bump into each other, hurt each other, anger each other.
How? With God’s help. Engaging God’s Spirit. Using words. Following God’s guidance.
“Our ability to speak with power and intention is one of God‘s richest gifts. Without words how else would we resolve our conflict? God gave us words so that we would not have to turn to violence. The richness of language is God’s way of giving us tools to resolve our human relationships and also to be vulnerable with and honest with him. Words are an essential part of our humanity and what it means to be made in the likeness of God. They enable us to not only avoid or resolve conflict but also to bless God, bless our neighbor, communicate our feelings, sing our praises, and shout our joy.” – Redeeming How We Talk by Ken Wytsma and AJ Swoboda
Following Jesus, becoming more like Jesus…
“Pray like this, ‘Father, forgive us as we forgive those…” – Luke 11:2-4 Matthew 6:9-13
“When you see what He did, you can forgive what they did.” – John Bevere
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:14–15
“Forgiveness and reconciliation are not just ethereal, spiritual, other-worldly activities. They have to do with the real world. They are realpolitik, because in a very real sense, without forgiveness, there is no future.” – Desmond Tutu
sin – wrongdoing, by false step or failure, to act contrary to the will of God, the law of God
Same word Jesus uses in 1 John 1:9 “faithful… to forgive us our sins,” as in Matthew 6:12 “Father, forgive us as we forgive,”
Forgive – to choose to release feelings of resentment toward someone who has harmed you
“Forgiveness – a commitment by the offended to pardon graciously the repentant from moral liability and to be reconciled to that person, although not all consequences are necessarily eliminated.” – Chris Brauns Unpacking Forgiveness
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.” – Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr
Elements of a Jesus followers apology:
“this is what I did that was wrong ___, this is the harm it caused ___, I am sorry, I make a commitment to never do it again, please forgive me. How can I make this right?”
Jesus gives us guidance for how to use our words in reconciliation, in Matthew 18:15-20
What should we do?
1. Receive God’s forgiveness and respond to it.
2. Pray, asking God for help in this area.
3. Reflect on today’s Scriptures.
4. Ask God who you need to reconcile with.
5. Prayerfully consider how this should be done.
6. Take one step in the direction of reconciliation.