It’s God’s pleasure to reconcile people to Himself, but not every human relationship can, will or should be reconciled. Not all friendships will last a lifetime. They can turn sour for varied reasons. It takes real sensitivity, understanding and godliness to understand how to negotiate those times in your life where there needs to be a restriction placed on a relationship.
A biblical example of a redefined relationship is in the book of Acts. The apostle Paul went out with Barnabas and conflict occurred between the two of them.
If I had edited the Bible, I probably would have taken that story out, but God considered it important for us to know. A dispute occurs and Barnabas goes his own way. Then Paul brings Silas on board, and they continue ministry.
They were still two godly men, reaching lost people. But the relationship, their agreement and how they were doing it had changed. So, the relationship had to be redefined.
Paul and Barnabas worked, ate, slept and ministered together. They had a certain bond, and then suddenly go in different directions. The relationship changed and a new definition of their relation was forged.
Taking time to understand the nature of the relationship when it’s redefined is an important part of having a life that can honor God.
Colossians 1:19-20 says, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (NIV).
What that means is to reset all things to Himself. God was the initiator of the ultimate reset. He’s saying, “I created you; I love you,” and it pleases Him when we come back into that reconciled relationship with Him.
How do you reset a relationship?
In Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24 NIV).
We have trouble in our relationships because we have unmet expectations. Someone is holding something against you because they feel like you should have done something that you didn’t do. You didn’t meet their expectation, causing a breach in the relationship.
Let’s face it, it’s easy to be casual in our relationships in our culture today. Casual as in getting into and out of a relationship, not only in marriage, but even in the world in which we live, we see that we talk about the cancel culture. We generally have a short fuse when it comes to tolerance or in terms of relationships with other people. For example, the mentality can be, if you agree with me and you believe what I believe, I’m OK. But if you believe something different than I believe, I’m going to exclude you.
God has called us to be able to go into those places to reach people that we don’t agree with, don’t understand, and live a different lifestyle than we do; and reach them with the gospel.
To make it right, or reset there’s three basic things to do:
- Decide that this is important.
- Reach out.
- Refuse to carry a grudge.
And remember, the reset of relationship doesn’t always mean the relations will be restored. Your reset is process of forgiveness, a process of letting go process of not continuing to bring up the past, and any number of things.
A reset means it isn’t working now, and I need to push the reset button.