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Sat Mar 08, 2014
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Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
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Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
10 Ideas For Keeping Lent
Wed Mar 05, 2014
by Winfield Bevins
Serving Each Other Through Forgiveness and Reconciliation
This post originally appeared on Redeemer City to City.
On both a theological and a practical level, forgiveness is at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian. True forgiveness comes at a cost and is pursued intentionally within a community of believers.
Individualistic or Traditional
The new human community that the Bible requires cuts across all cultures and temperaments. Put another way, it doesn’t fit any culture but challenges them all at some point. Christians from more individualistic cultures love the Bible’s emphasis on affirming one another and sharing hurts and problems—but hate the idea of accountability and discipline. Christians from more traditional communal cultures love the emphasis on accountability for morals and beliefs but often chafe at emphasis on racial reconciliation and being open about one’s personal hurts and financial needs.
But one could argue that the biblical teaching on forgiveness and reconciliation is so radical that there are no cultures or societies that are in accord with it. It may be here most of all that we see the truth of Bonhoeffer’s statement, “Our community with one another [in Christ] consists solely in what Christ has done to both of us. Christian brotherhood is a spiritual and not a human reality. In this it differs from all other communities.”
A Christian is responsible to begin the process of reconciliation, regardless of how the distance or the alienation began.
In its most basic and simple form, this teaching is that Christians in community are to never give up on one another, never give up on a relationship, and never write off another believer. We must never tire of forgiving (and repenting!) and seeking to repair our relationships. Matthew 5:23–26 tells us we should go to someone if we know they have something against us. Matthew 18:15–20 says we should approach someone if we have something against them. In short, if any relationship has cooled off or has weakened in any way, it is always your move. It doesn’t matter “who started it:” God always holds you responsible to reach out to repair a tattered relationship. A Christian is responsible to begin the process of reconciliation, regardless of how the distance or the alienation began.
This is an excerpt from a larger article which you can download below.
Copyright © 2001 by Timothy Keller, © 2009 by Redeemer City to City.
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