RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: EXPECTING DENIAL

Person 1 – “Hey, I’m sorry for it all. This shouldn’t have happened. Would you forgive me for behaving the way I did?”

Person 2 – “Well, it’s good that you realize it. After some tussle within, I had forgiven you in my heart. And, now I tell you the same. Don’t repeat it again with anyone else.”

Person 1 – “Hoooofff! I’m relieved. Now that we are friends again, let’s go hiking this Saturday.”

Person 2 – “I hold nothing against you in my heart. But, the whole episode has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I don’t think it’s possible to go back to old times. We can’t be friends anymore.”

Person 1 – “How can you say that? I mean . . . we’ve been friends for decades and then this happens and you decide to walk away after saying that you’ve forgiven me. We’ve got to be friends again to prove that actually, all is well between us and that you have indeed forgiven me.”

Person 2  – “Sorry, forgiving doesn’t mean you and I need to be friends again. It simply means that I hold no grudge against you now. If ever we crossroads in life in the future, it’ll be in a clean-slate mode. No past record will hold either you or me hostage. However, I am not comfortable going back to being friends with you.”

Person 1 – “You can give it a chance. You could try trusting me once more.”

Person 2 – “That’s not something which I want to do. And, you need to respect that.”

Person 1 – “Initially, I was doubtful as to whether you would forgive me in the first place. But, I was relieved to know that I stand forgiven. But, I guess, I became a bit too ambitious by expecting more. Somebody said rightly, ‘Actions have consequences’.”

Person 2 – “Rightly said, ‘Actions have consequences.’ I can’t trust you with myself anymore.”

Person 1 – “Well then, here we part. I lost a friend. Good tidings to you!”

Person 2 – “Good tidings to you, too!”

This is a conversation between two friends involved in a conflict. Though there is forgiveness, there is no reconciliation. The reason being a denial of one party to the conflict, to restore old ties.

Once bitten twice shy – is an old saying. A requirement of reconciliation is two agreeing parties. This does not always happen. No matter for whatever reasons there is denial, it ought to be respected after an initial attempt to reason out.

Relationships cannot and should not be forcibly restored. The denying party has a right to personal space unless convinced otherwise.

This is true especially in case of a divorce between a married couple or a break-up after a romantic stint since deep-rooted emotions are involved in the relationship-building-up phase.

Hence the bottom line is that on the path to Reconciliation, one may face a roadblock called Denial. It has to be confronted with Reason. If Reason succeeds in displacing Denial with Convincing, Reconciliation is a short distance away. However, if Reason fails, the process needs to come to an end with due respect for the personal right to space being provided.

If the process of Reconciliation comes to an end without the desirous result, one way to resort to is prayer. Persistent prayer of faith changes situations and transforms hearts. It doesn’t breach the space of the other, yet continues its relentless persuasion.

SIN – A MESSY STATE OF MAN

Five-year old Blessy came back from school scared that day. The Dictation answer sheets had been distributed in class and she had committed two mistakes, thus losing two marks. She thought she had written all correct spellings and hoped to score full marks. Now what awaited her was a nice piece of her mother’s mind. She debated within herself whether to show the answer sheet to her mother or hide it. Finally she decided to show it. After all, her mother was going to find it sooner or later! With shaky hands and lowered eyes, she extended the answer sheet to her mother after dinner – all the time thinking what excuse she could give. Her wise mother brought out the text book from the school bag, turned to the chapter, showed Blessy the correct spellings and explained that anything other than those mentioned spellings, are wrong.

Mistake

Wrong

Error

We use these words interchangeably in our everyday lives to indicate any deviation from the norm. Anything that is not correct, is considered incorrect. Anything that is not right, is considered wrong. To declare whether something is incorrect or wrong or erroneous, we need to have the knowledge of what is correct or right or the norm. Absence of standards renders mistakes/errors/wrongs into irrelevance – just as without traffic rules, adherence to / violation of traffic rules is insignificant.

AN UNCHANGEABLE STANDARD

Violation of absolute moral laws put in place by the Creator is called sin. All moral law begins with God. We cannot speak of sin without mentioning God. It is because of the presence of a self-existing and pre-existing God, that there are absolute moral laws in place for the whole of mankind even before civilizations emerged. Culture defines civilizations. Education and development refine human functioning. Awareness empowers the human mind. The Constitution of a country establishes the law of the land. All such standards are very essential for the civilized functioning and growth of the human race. However, they are subject to modifications and amendments according to the changing times. To give an example – today we have Cyber Crime cells in place, in the law and order systems of most countries; decades before, they were non-existent. God’s moral laws, however, are uniformly meant for the entire mankind for all times to come irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, sex, race, caste, language, socio-economic status or occupation. That is why God’s laws are absolute! His standards are unchangeable even in the changing times. This is because, God Himself doesn’t change.

In the Bible, God declares, “For I am the Lord, I change not.”  

Hence, violation of God’s standards, is sin.

ALL SIN IS SIN AGAINST GOD

We cannot substitute words like ‘mistake’, ‘error’, ‘wrong’, for sin. These substitute terms hold good for violation of human standards. But, not to refer to the violation of the absolute moral standards of God. Hence, mere euphemisms do not reduce the gravity of violating God’s standards. All sin, whether it harms us or others or no one in particular, is ultimately against the Holy God.                                   

A PERVERSION OF GOD’S DESIGN

Human beings have been created in God’s image to reflect His glory. What a high mandate for us! No sin dwells in God. Hence, no sin ought to find place in our lives. But when we sin, we mar the very image of God and raise our hands against God’s glory. We attempt to distort God’s design!

NO EXCUSE FOR SIN

The legal frameworks of many countries have the provision of not convicting people accused of legal aberrations if they are in the ripe old age. The heads of countries and certain government officials enjoy legal immunity till they are in power, for any action of omission or commission. However, there is no excuse whatsoever for sin against God. A sinful man is without excuse. Sin is sin irrespective of the age at which it is committed or the circumstances under which it may be committed. Because we have been created in the image of God, we have His moral law etched in our hearts. This rules out ignorance / lack of awareness as an excuse for sin.

The Bible says, For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

SIN  CAN NEVER BE HIDDEN

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

All sinful deeds committed under the table, behind closed doors, in the darkest corners, in mountain holes or in the deep seas stand exposed before the Omniscient God. People around us may remain ignorant of the petty or humongous misdeeds committed by us. But, you and I can never escape the All-seeing eyes of the One who watches everything.

SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES – ON EARTH AS WELL AS IN ETERNITY

A spelling mistake in exam would result in less marks and scolding from parents/tutors. A typo in an important document would lead an employee to wash his/her hands off the job. A misprint in the wedding invitation card may lead guests to land up at the wrong venue. Similarly, sin’s consequences are inescapable. To give an example – A person fiddling with multiple sexual partners is bound to suffer from STDs, apart from other social and emotional consequences.

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing…”

INTENSITY IS NOT THE DEFINING PRINCIPLE OF SIN

A sin is a sin if it violates God’s standards, no matter whether it is measured as big or small by the world. And God’s standards are really high. The Bible says –

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So, if we have been categorizing murder, robbery, rape as grave sins and dismissing petty lies, cheating, anger, bribery as circumstantial acts of misdeed, it’s time for a reality check!

As long as we are in the flesh, we are susceptible to sin. The Bible says, “…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…”

It is easy to brush aside this whole concept of sin which tends to make one pretty uncomfortable. But, it is not right to live each day ignoring the fact that we may be sinning in multiple ways. Such an understanding would ultimately lead to a doomed eternity, as our sinful thoughts, words and actions are bound to come before us one day. Sin calls for repentance and repentance leads to seeking forgiveness from God and man.

Friends, living in sin equals to dying to God. Let’s not mess with sin. Let’s seek to remove the shadow of sin from our lives.