Forgiveness. But what about the Restoration of the Relationship? It is not the same.

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I. When you are wronged by a friend or foe, to forgive is to heal your hurt.

i. This healing of your heart will set you free from being trapped by negative feelings. The one who has wronged you is not involved in this process. This is about you, being set free from carrying the baggage of unforgiveness and the negative effects it will have on you. It will also soften your attitude towards the person that wronged you.

ii. Your relationship with this person, however, cannot be restored unless he/she comes to you, confesses the wrongdoing, say that they are sorry, and ask for forgiveness. This will restore trust and restore the relationship. Approaching you will also be so much easier for him/her sensing your positive attitude as a result of your act of forgiveness, even without you having said a word.

Two other possible scenarios:

  1. Though, even without you having forgiven him, he still carries the moral obligation to ask your forgiveness, to repent, and confess the wrongdoing. But without your forgiveness, the relationships cannot be healed.
  2. If you have forgiven the wrong against you, but the wrongdoer has not confessed and repented, it may leave you with an unfulfilled feeling of sadness because of the broken relationship that cannot be healed and there is very little you can do about it but to live in love and integrity, and in the hope that he/she will come back to you.

Thus, you forgive and get inner healing. But to restore the relationship he/she has to confess his/her wrongdoing towards you. This confession will complete the process and mutual trust will be the basis of a restored relationship.

And, of course, forgiveness, confession, and repentance have to come from the heart to have any meaning. Mere words will accomplish nothing.

II. With God, it is, to no surprise, remarkably similar.

Forgiveness is possible for every human being. He took our sin, our wrongdoing against Him, onto Himself on the cross (whether committed directly against Him or indirectly by sinning against fellow man). This forgiveness stands as a solid rock.

But, unless we confess and repent, our relationship with Him cannot be restored. John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just (to the cross, to His promise) to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The word confess implies agreeing with God about how bad our sin is and saying sorry. Repentance, or turning away from it, is part of this confession. For those who have not been pardoned by Christ, every sin that is unconfessed is unforgiven, yet in the full potential of complete forgiveness, it was already dealt with at the cross.

Though forgiveness is freely available, our relationship with Him will stay broken until we confess and repent.

Thus, we sin (just try to live one day without doing anything morally wrong by thoughts, words, or deeds). Our relationship is broken with the One whom we are sinning against, our Creator God. Forgiveness was made available to all on the cross, all who would confess and repent. This restores our relationship with God.

‘So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.’ Romans 5:11

‘This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!’ 2 Corinthians 5:17

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