Saturday, July 21, 2012

Restoration

At our church, we have witnessed the restoration of two marriages. Both couples were divorced then came back together and remarried. It was beautiful seeing how God can heal and forgive. Not only though does God restore marriages he can also restore other relationships from those within our family to friendships.  His word says that if we hold anything against anyone, we should forgive them so that He can forgive us.


And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25

I'm not sure about you but when I would think of forgiving certain people, I'd rather poke my eyes out than actually have to think about saying, "I'm sorry". It's fairly hard to admit when you've wronged someone else. It's even harder to love those who are mean to us. But these are several things that have been on my mind: restoration of marriage and restoration of friendships.

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matthew 5:44-45

The restoration of the marriages at my church took me back to my own divorce. I asked myself, "Would you go back and work it out?" My answer was quick, "no." For starters, I'm happily remarried but secondly I simply do not want to be there. There is not an ounce of my being that has ever wanted my first marriage to be restored. However, I can say I love my ex husband. Yet, I am not in love with him. He is a great father. He is a good friend. But you know what, even if our marriage was not restored like those at my church, it was restored in its own right.

The day our divorce was final, my ex husband asked me to come to his office. We talked and cried for hours and asked for forgiveness. It worked. I didn't really want to forgive and I am certain he didn't want to forgive either. But we had this amazing bundle of baby boy who deserved the best future with parents who loved him. We have given Ryan that. Let me go deeper, I remarried in 2008 and my ex remarried in 2010. I didn't have the greatest relationship with his new wife. I think it's safe to say we both felt threatened maybe. I asked friends to pray that she and I would find common ground and that Jesus would make me like her. Do not underestimate the power of prayer. Why? He answered my prayers. My ex's wife is now someone I count as a friend. God restored us. In our own right, our relationship has been restored. I actually think it's beautiful. It has been restored to the point that they have watched my daughter. How many people can say, my new husband and I have a child and my ex husband and his wife babysit her? None but us. I would guess. You know who benefits from the restoration- every.single.person we ever come in contact with. God is good. People tell us all the time that the admire our relationship.

I have also experienced restoration of a friendship. Years ago, I was hurt by someone who I considered as a sibling figure in my life. We were close. I caused this person as much hurt as I had experienced. On the surface, when we had our rift we apologized but the hurt ran so deep that this superficial apology didn't heal anything at all. I prayed about it. I was convicted by this verse :

“If your brother sins again you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
Matthew18:15-17

Did I ever go to my friend? No, I didn't. I prayed. Beautifully orchestrated by God, this friend came to me recently and apologized. It was the most heartfelt apology I had ever received. I actually got all teary eyed. Imagine that? Now, it is as if the hurt never happened. It's so amazing to see how God can work.

If you have a relationship in need of restoration, God cares. Go to him. Pray. Pray. Pray. Seek his face ask him to show you forgiveness so you can show it to someone else. It all matters to God. And when the relationship is restored you will feel peace. God's peace. If you have wronged someone, go to them and apologize. Don't wait.