Sunday, April 9, 2017

Strained – Part 2

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

Continuing Pastor Kyle’s message, he gave us four suggestions on what to do when the moment of reconciliation arrives. (1) Lead with honor and you cannot go wrong. It is counter-intuitive but let all rank and power go. Humble yourself. Philippians 2:1-5 tells us: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” In Matthew 20:16, Jesus tells us: “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” Pastor Kyle likes to use communication skills explained in the 1995 book by Gary Chapman that outlines five ways to express and experience what Chapman calls "love languages": (a) gift giving, (b) quality time, (c) words of affirmation, (d) acts of service (devotion), and (5) physical touch in conflict reconciliation situations, while always keeping the Lord instruction from Luke 17:3 that “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.

2 Corinthians 13:11 “Brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you."

(2) Posture yourself for forgiveness and reconciliation. Your body language tells almost everything about yourself. Know that, just as you can lead a horse to water but cannot make it drink, you cannot make others take your hand of reconciliation, but you can always forgive and offer your hand. (3) Part with blessing, leaving each other with kindness and grace. Concerning known “hot buttons” of the other or recalling past offenses, don’t go there. By rule: One “bad” moment ruins the 99 “good” moments. When reconciling relationships, put aside your right to an apology and keep your negative thoughts to yourself.

Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

(4) Praise God regardless of the outcome. Expect that we will pay a price for the mistakes that we made. Know that there will be times when things resolve beyond our wildest expectations or imagination; that there will sometimes be times when we doubt if an equitable resolution to reconciliation will take place; and there will be times when everything will turn sideways and go haywire ... even with your best efforts. Know that the Lord has everything under control. Praise God at the beginning of the day, at the end of the day, and all the time in between. Do not put it off. When God asks you and I to do something hard and out of our comfort-zone in obedience to Him, will we welcome it without reservation and do it in His strength with confidence as a child of God?

In Christ, Brian

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