Look for Ways to Bring People Together
“[God] has restored our relationship with him through Christ, and has given us this ministry of restoring relationships. In other words, God was using Christ to restore his relationship with humanity. He didn’t hold people’s faults against them, and he has given us this message of restored relationships to tell others” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 GW).
When you want to repair a relationship where there is conflict, you have to focus on reconciliation, not resolution.
There’s a big difference! Reconciliation means reestablishing the relationship. It doesn’t mean you’ll remarry your ex. It just means you’re at peace with each other.
Resolution means you resolve every disagreement, and that just isn’t going to happen. Because the truth is, there are some things in your marriage, your friendships, and your work relationships that you’re just never going to agree on, because we’re all different. But you can disagree without being disagreeable. That’s called maturity. That’s called wisdom. That’s called being like Christ.
We can have unity without uniformity. We can walk hand in hand together without seeing eye to eye. My wife, Kay, and I have been married for more than 40 years, and we don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things. But we walk hand in hand and support each other. We are at peace.
Here’s what I’ve learned from counseling marriages: If you focus on restoring your relationship, oftentimes the issue becomes insignificant. How many of your biggest arguments were over the smallest things? Very few, I suspect. You need to get back to focusing on the relationship.
There’s a lot of conflict in the world. It’s filled with wars, division, arguments, prejudice, racism, terrorism, and partisanism. And as a result, we have broken relationships. We have a broken economy. We have a broken government. We have broken marriages. And we have broken lives and broken hearts.
I challenge you as a believer to commit to becoming an agent of reconciliation in a world filled with conflict. Become a bridge builder, not a wall builder. Look for ways to bring people together rather than tear them up.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, “[God] has restored our relationship with him through Christ and has given us this ministry of restoring relationships. In other words, God was using Christ to restore his relationship with humanity. He didn’t hold people’s faults against them, and he has given us this message of restored relationships to tell others” (GW).
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have a ministry of reconciliation. It’s your job to go out in society and say, “God’s done everything to put you back in fellowship with him. He’s already paid for all your sins. You don’t have to be his enemy. He’s not mad at you. He’s mad about you. Be reconciled to God. Be at peace with God. Then spread that peace with everybody else.”
Talk It Over
What is a point of contention in your marriage or a friendship that you have not been able to resolve?
What steps can you take to focus more on that relationship and reconciliation instead of attempting to resolve the issue?
How can you work to become an agent of reconciliation right where you are in your family, work, and community?
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.