Northern Plains Anglicans
So true. Forgiveness and restoration are entirely different things. Forgiveness is something anyone can offer, seeking God's grace to do so. Restoration is far more complex because it requires both parties to submit to Christ and one another. That's assuming you get the chance. There are people I can never reconcile with because they aren't even in my life anymore. It may never happen. But that challenges my ability to forgive, so He can still use the experience to train me in His ways.
Kim - you make a very important point. The fact that every person has relationships that cannot be reconciled (if we are honest) is a strong case for our need for grace. We can't fix everything, including a lot of stuff we should fix and even stuff we would fix if we still could. Bono of U2 recently spoke up for grace as superior to "karma." In Christ, we are not trapped in an endless cycle of retributive justice - we are forgiven by the love of God.
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