When we think about our lives, 'picking up the pieces' might seem very appropriate, but God prefers different terms like healing, restoration and saving. Relationships are not things that can just be reassembled as if nothing ever happened. Offenses and hurts have been made. There are costs, and the payment heavy. Many times man tries to straighten out everything on his own. He forgets this is impossible because every time we offend man, we also offend God.
God, however, not only is an offended person but the volunteer mediator. He is offended because as His creatures we have not lived by His rules and have further messed things up. As a mediator the Lord plays the central role during restoration. Interestingly, He also actually provides the means for the restoration of relationships. Things will never be the way they were, but by God's grace He can bring some good from it.
You might not be able to marry your divorced wife. You might never again be able to be close to your children because of past wrongs. But God has a special way of working in and through brokenness. This is God's specialty. We can see this in the scriptures as well as in the lives of His people who have found this restoration. So let us look beyond just collecting the broken pieces and look to genuine relationships.
We have dealt with forgiveness before but only on a general level. The process of reconciliation itself can be difficult.
- We are humbled.
- We need to face our wrongs.
- Others find out how evil we are.
Positively however, forgiveness leads to freedom and restoration. There are many levels of forgiveness and like a big family, they are all related. We will deal with three aspects of forgiveness.
We usually aren't able to see the slow degradation that takes place in our lives when we do not properly confess our sins. Our life's progress slows down. Our relationships will get worse and worse until our whole life comes crumbling down.
Every person that we have not properly forgiven is like a little pebble in our running shoe. They almost insure defeat in the long race. We usually handle such problems by simply hoping that it will go away. Maybe a calloused skin will quickly develop so that we will not feel it anymore! But this is a temporary solution at best. What we should do is humble ourselves on the side of the road when all the other runners are zipping by and get that pebble out.
A little argument started up on their anniversary. They had wonderful plans for a beautiful date to celebrate. But one stupid argument killed their desire to be with each other. They went. They spent time together. They even spent a bit on their evening out together. However, an unforgiving spirit led to bitterness and an unwillingness to want to be close to each other. Any real pleasure in sexual intimacies vanished in light of their sour hearts.
"What does forgiveness have to do with sexual purity?" The question is well posed.
We are social creatures, but more than this we are moral creatures. God made us to relate to Him and others. When we respond poorly to others, less than in a proper way, we have disturbed the peace between ourselves including God. We might think that because our sexual lives are on the private side of things that they have nothing to do the way we relate to others. But the opposite is true. Sexual matters have everything to do with relationships. Sexual intercourse is the deepest way to relate to another person. Pain at this level hurts a lot.
We often think that time heals these squabbles. But time does not really heal. Time is like scars that bind together torn parts on our skins or organs such as our lungs. Those scars do not act as living tissue but are there merely to keep things bound together. Scars are hard and ugly. If the scars increase, they eventually get to a point where the organ cannot properly function.