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Monday, October 22, 2012

The principles of recovery Part 5

This is a continuation of a multi-part series of lessons aimed to assist believers who have found themselves out side of the acceptable social and economic circles of our church communities.  In order to give them direction through the teaching of parable of the prodigal son. We continue now with the fifth step on the road to recovery : Reconciliation

 But let us first review the the last four principles we have learned so far:

1)Realization-

Until  you are aware that where you are is not where you ought to be, you will remain where you are.  
To progress from where you are, you must have a new vision for your life, even if you are in the pig pen, for where you are does not foretell where you will be. It is your choice to stay in the pig pen or not.  

2)Resolution-

Until you make a plan to progress from where you are to the place you ought to be,  you will never leave where you are. Here it is said that the reason many people fail is because of the lack of  effective planning to succeed.  

3)Repentance-

We learn that the change of direction, the change of purpose and the possession a new vision coupled with a contrite spirit toward those we may have offended before we each ended up in the pig pen of life will lead us forward to the life we ought be living.

4)Return-

We learned that all the realization, the planning, and the repenting will be for nothing if we each do not act upon them.

Now back to our fifth lesson: Reconciliation

Reconciliation defined: Noun; the process of making consistent or compatible.taken from the root word: reconcile which is a verb.-Source Dictionary.com

Reconcile defined:Verb; to make (oneself or another) no longer opposed. -Source Dictionary.com

Therefore reconciliation is a process where two opposing sides settle their differences and become compatible to each other.  The Prodigal Son was no longer opposed to working for a living, after his pig pen experience, he was ready to reconcile with his father, of whom he felt that he shamed by his loose living in a far away land.  There two persons that participate in a reconciliation, the one who wishes to reconcile and the offended who allows the offender to be reconciled.  In this case the Father of the Prodigal son was each day looking on the horizon for his wayward son, awaiting for his return.  When the Father saw the prodigal son, he ran to him and fell upon his neck.  The prodigal Son recited what he had practiced upon his long journey back home.  How he is not worthy to be his Son, and that he will work as one of the hired hands of the household.  His Father seeing that life had humbled him just so, accepted him back as his son. 

Now in some cases this kind of reconciliation is not possible.  When such a case is not possible what do you do then? What I mean suppose a person makes the effort to reconcile and the other party chooses not to accept and reconcile with them, what then?  Does that person continue to make offers of reconciliation? Or does that person's recovery stop, because of the other party's refusal to reconcile with him?  The answer is that God will accept his offer of reconciliation, even though the other party did not choose to do so.  He should leave the offer to reconcile with the offended party open to them to complete the reconciliation process.  God does not hold that person, who is attempting to reconcile,  liable if the other party chooses not to reconcile with him.  He will find that God will work around this impasse in His Grace and provide an equal or another compatible party to continue his recovery process.  He does not need to force the opposing party to reconcile with him.   

I must point out that when the Prodigal Son did meet his Father he recited that He offended God and then his Father when he fulfilled his repentance offer. He first repented to God.  For some of us that is the only person we can repent to, because it is the only person we have each offended in some degree. If we have offended another and that person has refused to accept our repentance offer and does not reconcile, then we each must depart from that person leaving the door of reconciliation open for the offended party to walk through when that party deem it needful or when God has touched that person's heart to do so.  I have found this to work out well.  If you do not leave the offering for reconciliation for the offended party to complete and harbor bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart, beware that God will not let you continue to full recovery, because you now have made your focus that offended party in the place of the vision that God gave you of the life you ought to be living.  You will stay there until you let the offer of reconciliation stay open.   God deals justly with those who offends his will, forgiving those who sincerely repents and reconciles them back into his family.  He  chastises those who disobey.  What is His will between offender and the offended that are believers?  Forgiveness and restitution,  but there can be no restitution without forgiveness.  For Jesus has said:

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.-Jesus (Matthew 6:14+15)

Also Read Matthew 18:21-35 a parable on forgiveness.

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.-Jesus (Mark 11:25+26)

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: -Jesus (Luke 6:37)

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.-Jesus (Luke 17:3+4)

We are obligated to forgive, if someone offends us and they make an offering of repentance.  Forgiveness is the other side of Repentance, when one of us chooses not to forgive another when close the door of reconciliation.   So without repentance and forgiveness, reconciliation is not possible.  If any one of us is walking in un-forgiveness  toward another God's forgiveness toward you is limited to the degree of un-forgiveness you enforce upon another repenting soul.  

The Prodigal Son not only made an offer of repentance, he also stated his willingness to make restitution for his actions and decisions.  Now in the Prodigal Son's case the Father was open to Forgive and restore him.  This is not the case for everyone.  Sometimes you can not receive the forgiveness for your offering of repentance because the person is too far away in an unknown location or deceased by the time for you to reach that person.  If you make your offering of repentance to God first,  it will be acceptable for you to continue on the path of recovery.  If you did not make your offering of repentance first to God and make it your focus to receive forgiveness from the party that you can not receive it from, you will become depressed and obsessed with everyone that is going through a similar situation. You can become disillusioned again thinking that you have failed in making your recovery.  Just remember that God is not a man, that he should lie and what he has said through his Son is still available to you.  This is why the Christian walk is a deliberate walk of faith in God's grace. For no one is perfect, and no one is without need of the forgiveness of God.

So what did we learn? We learned that Reconciliation is made complete through forgiveness. That God's grace allows us to continue on the path of recovery, even though receiving forgiveness from the offended party is not achievable.  We learned that we each need to repent to God first and to the offender second.  We learned that by following the path of recovery we can hold on to our faith in God through Christ.  



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