Reconciled to Forgiveness

The pastor preached on reconciliation, this past Sunday, from Matthew 5:21-26

Take time to read it now. If you don’t have a Bible near, click on the Scripture reference and it will take you to one online.

According to Rev. Stephenson, reconciliation requires transparency, which is risky, making the process of forgiveness painful. But he left us with this thought:

God leads us and calls us to be reconciled with each other. 
It begins with an invitation from God.

And I see that invitation in the prayer Jesus taught:

…and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Matthew 6:12 ESV
Just the Wednesday before in mini-Methodists, the sixth graders and I rewrote this prayer in our own words. And I saw that many who had it memorized — spout it off rapid-fire — really had no idea what they were praying. What they were asking of God.
So I try to explain this particular verse …you are asking God to forgive you the same way you forgive others…

They try to process. One says.. I’ll forgive the little things but anything big… No way…

And I translate her prayer for her… So you’re telling God to forgive the little things you do, but anything big, don’t forgive me…

Eyes grow wide as the magnitude of this prayer sinks in.
It is a hard invitation, this invitation of reconciliation.
…But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable for judgment… and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. …

And I wonder, what needs to happen in me, to forgive as I want to be forgiven? to let go of anger? refuse to judge those who harm?
Then the answer, it forms. Those who know the depth of their own sin — come face to face with their own depravity — and receive a glimpse of grace are the ones prepared to offer forgiveness to others.
Reconciliation comes from a heart humbled by God’s grace and forgiveness.

God’s law is a law of grace. A law of mercy.
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 
You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. 
Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:8, 13 ESV
Those who love God’s law, His forgiveness and grace, are peacemakers. Grace givers. Readily reconcile.
Great peace have they which love thy law:
And nothing shall offend them.
Psalm 119:165 KJV
Are you easily offended?
Do you love God’s law of grace? for yourself? for others?
How do you want Him to forgive you?

Transparency. It begins with self. Own your sin. Your responsibility for the cross. Fully embrace who you are before Him and allow His grace and mercy to heal, restore, and reconcile to Himself. Then your humbled grateful heart will offer the same to others.
Father God, help me to see who I am before You. My need for Your grace. Heal me. Restore me. Reconcile me to You. Prepare me to be reconciled to forgiveness.
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