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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Requirements of Restored Relationship

In review of 1 Peter 3:11 it says, “Search for peace, and work to maintain it” (NLT).

Bottom Line:
Work hard to search for and main peace.

What this means to me:
My role is to search proactively for peace and do all I can to help maintain it.

Today’s verse comes from 1 Peter 3, where Paul speaks to all Christians. He said, finally, all of us should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called us to do, and he will grant us his blessing when we do. For the Scriptures say, "If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil."

Too often peace is seen just as the absence of conflict. Peacemaking is thought of as a passive role. But an effective peacemaker actively pursues peace by building good relationships, knowing that peace is a by-product of commitment. The peacemaker anticipates problems and deals with them before they occur. When conflicts arise, they are brought into the open and dealt with before they grow unmanageable. Making peace is hard work, I have to search for it and work to maintain it, but it results in God's blessings.

Forgiveness is not resuming a relationship without change. In fact, forgiveness and resuming a relationship are two different things. Forgiveness is what I do as the offended person. Resuming the relationship is what the other person does in order to get back into your good graces. Saying “I’m sorry” is not enough. In fact, Scripture teaches that there are three things that are essential to resume a relationship that’s been broken — and the offender has to do all three of these things.

1. Restoring a relationship requires repentance. In other words, you’re truly saddened about what you did. That’s not just saying, “I’m sorry.” It means saying, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.” You can be sorry that the weather was bad or something like that, but repentance is admitting wrong and being truly sorry.

2. Restoring a relationship requires restitution. Sometimes it will require some kind of physical or material restitution. Even when forgiven, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. A debt may still need to be paid to society or to someone for what was damaged or destroyed by your actions.

3. Restoring a relationship requires rebuilding trust. This doesn’t happen overnight, it can take a long, long time. When hurt, I need to forgive immediately. But it doesn’t mean that trust is immediately restored. Forgiveness is built on grace and is unconditional, while trust has to be rebuilt over a period of time.

Most don’t grasp the difference between forgiveness and rebuilding trust in a relationship. Whenever a political or religious leader gets caught in a scandal, there will always be people who say, “We’re all imperfect. We’re all human. We need to just forgive that person and keep on going.”

No! I must forgive that person immediately, but I don’t have to trust that person. The Bible says trust is built with time. Credibility is what a leader leads with. All leaders must have trust; it’s the currency they live in. If I lose trust, I have lost my right to lead at that moment. I may have the title, but I’m not the leader until I rebuild trust. And that isn’t going to happen instantly.