The Christian reconciliation model

By Dave Henning / April 11, 2023

“Only the gospel prepares you for both sides of the Christian reconciliation model.  It humbles you enough to make you able to be a forgiver and, at the same time, affirms and fills you with such a sense of worth and love that it makes you able to be a repenter.”- Timothy Keller

“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”- Romans 12:21 (NIV)

As Timothy Keller moves on in Chapter 11 of Forgive, he notes that the apostle Paul lays out a principle for reconciliation in Romans 12:21.  Next, Pastor Keller states, Paul gives us five practical ways to realize that principle.  Most significantly, the word overcome = a military word meaning ‘to defeat, conquer.’  Hence only two possibilities exist:

  1. evil defeats you; it distorts your view of yourself and your relationship with others
  2. you conquer and defeat evil as you respond to it with good

Also, if you maintain your anger, coldness, and ill will toward the wrongdoers, that can help them feel more justified.  Thus, Pastor Keller lists five ways to overcome evil with good.  Today he talks about the first three ways to respond to offenders.

 1.  Pray for them.  Above all, to bless those who persecute you means to pray for God to bless them.  Because when you pray for someone, it’s hard to stay angry at them.  In addition, praying for your offender knocks down any feelings of superiority.  And your heart starts to turn to willing them good.

 2.  Forgive them.  The essence of forgiveness involves a turning away from the pursuit of revenge.  Certainly, you tell the truth – inform the wrongdoer of his/her offense.  But you tell the truth in order to seek the ‘good’.  Not to pay back and hurt them the way they hurt you.  Thus, forgiveness means to confront without revenge.

3.  Don’t avoid them.  When you say you want nothing to do with the person you’ve forgiven, that’s really a form of retaliation.  Therefore, you refuse to contribute to the hostility — even if your offender remains hostile toward you.

Today’s question: How do you apply the Christian model of reconciliation?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Square every account – God”

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Dave Henning

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