Forgiveness is free, trust is earned.
Forgiveness is free. Then why is it so hard? Even though forgiveness is free, trust is earned. Forgiveness wipes the slate clean, pardons a wrong, cancels the debt. Forgiveness is my choice, re-earning trust is someone else’s. I am commanded to forgive whether reconciliation happens or not. Whether someone else apologizes or not, forgiveness is always the best choice.
Romans 12:18 says, “…if possible, as much as it depends on you be at peace with all men.”
You can only do your part. And sometimes that is the only option available. Still, forgiveness does not come naturally. We often use “buts, what ifs, and if only” excuses to excuse our inability to move forward. But oh how sweet it is when we can come all the way to reconciliation. Forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation. Reconciliation can only come when forgiveness is actually requested. A little child shall lead you. Learn from Emma and Lila Jean.
“Do you want to eat noodles?
After a week of being together constantly because of a family tragedy both toddlers had received much grace. By the end of the week the toddler cousins, Emma, 3 1/2 years old, and Lila Jean, almost 2 1/2 , had reached their limit. We don’t know how it happened but we do know the end result–Emma hit Lila Jean on the arm. Emma’s mom instructed Emma she needed to apologize. What happened next demonstrated what true forgiveness and reconciliation can look like. It will be a living example to our family for years to come.
Without hesitation, Emma sincerely apologized to Lila Jean and said, “I’m sorry I hit you. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Will you forgive me?”
Quickly Lila Jean responded, “I forgive you,” immediately with a big smile on her face, she said, “Do you want to eat noodles?”
Emma sincerely apologized, Lilia Jean instantly forgive, trust was re-earned and relationship was restored.
“But oh how sweet it is when we can come all the way to reconciliation.”
Do you want to eat noodles? That one small phrase said so so much. It signaled all is forgiven now do you want to eat together–we can go forward in relationship holding nothing back. A small child shall lead them. Later on our trip from Iowa to Tennessee went through an adult version of words that hurt. Apologies were made. Quiet reflection happened. All of a sudden these words broke the silence, “Do you want to eat noodles?”
All the tension subsided, no lingering hurt, it was a signal all was forgiven and we were free to move forward in relationship. I am so thankful that Emma and Lila Jean allowed us a ring side view of what true reconciliation can look like. What did I learn:
- Take responsibility, apologize quickly, sincerely and specifically.
- Acknowledge and forgive.
- Move forward in relationship.
- “Do you want to eat noodles?”
The greatest reconciliation of all…
The greatest reconciliation of all is when we restore relationship with our loving Heavenly Father. Just as the hit between Emma and Lila Jean broke relationship even so our sin broke relationship with God our Creator. He has offered us forgiveness through His Son Jesus but it must be received in order for reconciliation to happen. Are you ready to restore relationship between you and your Heavenly Father who is crazy about you?
- Take responsibility that you have sinned. (Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.) Acknowledge you can’t fix your sin, believe Jesus death and resurrection paid the penalty due your sin and can restore you to relationship with the Father.
- Receive confidently God’s promise to forgive and cleanse you when you repent. (1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.)
- Enjoy being reconciled to God. Move forward in relationship by prayer, Bible Study and connecting to a group of believers that can help you grow in that relationship.
- “Do you want to eat noodles?” I would love to encourage you in your walk with God. Please join me in a 21-day email adventure encouraging you from God’s Word that you are the person that God is with.