I have been given the privilege of leading a Divorce Care support group at our church. It has been so redeeming to me and re-enforces to me God does not waste any experience we go through in life, good or bad. It has also allowed me to self-examine where I am in my walk with Christ as we weekly discuss topics of “forgiveness, anger, depression, reconciliation, finances, etc.” Am I moving forward, am I forgiving of past sins against me and looking for what Christ has next for me? I think so but it has caused me to work harder at it than I would have otherwise.
Today our topic was reconciliation. I pled with those in our class today to do all they can to reconcile. Focus of the lesson was while forgiveness is unilateral, reconciliation is bilateral . . . it takes two. We also learned there are stages to reconciliation (basic civility, friendship, and then relationship) and it does not necessarily mean the two parties become married again. We learned there is a “line of reconciliation” where the Bible commands us to go (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) and be ministers of reconciliation. One cannot force their spouse to reconcile either as a spouse or at the very least a friend but they can be at the line in the middle waiting (not dating others during this time) if they do return. While waiting at that line, we are called to focus inwardly and upwardly to God in seeking to heal and be made whole. We are not called to be a doormat and must be cautiously open to the other party (if they have betrayed the marriage) repenting and returning. At the line of reconciliation, the focus is on one’s own recovery, healing from past sins and abuses against them, growing in their walk with Christ, and removing bitterness & anger from the relationship so they can be made whole REGARDLESS of the actions of their spouse (good or bad).
So many in our class want to immediately move forward, get legally divorced, and get their adulterous spouse far, far behind them. I pled for them to wait, leave it in God’s hands, He can restore, and remain at the line of reconciliation as long as possible. I did and I move forward in my life with no regrets. Unlike mine, I have also seen miracles in other marriages and with 2 willing parties, God can restore and heal even the most broken of marriages. God can do the impossible and if you are in the midst of a broken marriage, stay at that line . . . praying, healing, forgiving, and seeking reconciliation. You will not regret you did.
As I closed the lesson, I read to them Isaiah 61 and told them Jesus said this passage speaks of Him as Messiah (Luke 4:21). The message is from the Messiah as a healing balm and encouragement to His followers. I leave this passage as a prayer for you.
Isaiah 61:1-7 The Message (MSG)
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.