Few people would describe the process of confrontation as a joyful one, but the reconciliation aspect is truly one that inspires rejoicing. The reconciliation of a sinner to another person or to his church is a mirror of the gospel- Christ reconciled us to Himself.
There can be no reconciliation without the stage of confrontation for sin. By its very nature being reconciled means that something has been torn apart! Perhaps the love relationship between a husband and wife, the fellowship of two good friends, or the unity of the church as a member causes division in the Body. Personal sin brings consequences and when we begin to act as though we believe that we will begin to take Peacemaking seriously enough to go through the steps that lead to reconciliation.
Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Colossians 3:13 (NASB)
Reconciliation is centered around bringing glory to God. When that is the goal, then personal feelings are irrelevant, and desires like revenge or self-righteousness are not in play. Our motives are pure and our heart is focused on how we can best represent Christ. The unsaved people in our lives are always watching us to see how we handle things and these kinds of things are an opportunity for us to put Jesus Christ on display!
So often those outside the church see us as harsh and critical and vindictive because we did not follow up our rebuke with reconciliation! We take the steps of confrontation and rebuke and do not pursue the person for restoration with the church or the person they conflicted with. They get angry and leave the church and we gladly wash our hands of them and the whole situation and move on. This should not be!
In each of these steps of Peacemaking, we are to pursue and pursue in love with care and concern keeping the cross of Christ in view. Jesus went after the most lost of sinners, how can we not go after one of His own?
Yes, these conflicts are very painful but to allow a Believer to languish outside our fellowship without being reconciled is a crime and it is unnecessary. We must pursue reconciliation with those who are at odds with us and or with the church for the sake of Christ.
Forgiveness must be sought and granted or we bring the cross of Christ to nothing. We are to live at peace with everyone to the best of our ability (Rom. 12:18) and to love at all times. These are the qualities you will find in the members of a really good church, a church that practices personal peacemaking in its relationships.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (NASB)