RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: FEELING THE NEED

Why these wars?
Why this loss of lives?
If men can love men,
And choose to live as close brethren.

Aching minds and crying hearts,
Longing for peace instead of fiery darts,
To love, indeed is an art,
Which every man must master and strive to play a part.

Reconciliation is a fruit of love. Love in the heart yearns to be reconciled with one who is not deemed to be on the same page as before.

Reconciliation refers to the restoration of previously existing friendly relations. It doesn’t simply mean ‘to patch up with someone.’ It involves much more. Though Reconciliation has been dealt with in Candles Online previously, this week is again devoted to the topic, thus recognizing its significant importance – be it in interpersonal relationships or in global ties. Without a doubt, reconciliation would make the world a better place to live in than it already is.

In today’s piece, I will be dealing with Feeling the Need for Reconciliation.

For any behaviour to manifest, there has to be a felt need. Though we do many things out of sheer habit, the human clock – be it biological, social or psychological – operates out of a felt need. Take, for example, hunger. When the hypothalamus perceives the need for food, it sends sensory signals and so you and I experience what is called hunger pangs. This leads us to go near a source of food and consume it to satiate our hunger. Just like hunger, most other physiological processes are born in the mind and are then translated into physical action/behaviour.

Reconciliation is not a physiological process, though the act of being reconciled with someone is reflected in physical and social behaviour. Unless one feels the need for reconciliation, the actual act of reconciliation doesn’t happen.

When we speak of reconciliation, we assume that there has been a point of conflict which was preceded by good relations. Genuine restoration of previous friendly relations is possible when the conflict is followed by forgiveness (which will be extensively dealt with on another day this week). Forgiveness, then gives way to the desire for reconciliation.

So then, what does it take to be reconciled with someone, why ought one feel the need for the same and how to reconcile? I’ll deal with the what and why of reconciliation in today’s piece. In the subsequent six articles of this week, we’ll talk about the how.

The intrusion of conflict into friendly relations results in the friendly ties being cut off, thus giving rise to enmity, anger, jealousy, a desire for revenge, stress and lack of peace as by-products. A continual indwelling of these vicious by-products results in a sick mind and body, thus affecting one’s intrapersonal and interpersonal well-being. Too much a cost to pay for the one life that is gifted to us!

The Bible says –

“If possible as far as it depends on you live peaceably with all.”

 These words of wisdom are not without reason. Count the costs of conflict and the blessings of peace – you’ll realize it!

So then won’t it make one look like a fool to be reconciled with someone who was only yesterday trying to cause harm? Won’t it make one a weakling before others? Is it not more logical to avenge oneself – tooth for tooth and eye for an eye?

We see this happening. Our newspapers and News channels are full of hate stories – whether social or diplomatic. Is it doing anyone any good? Well, the earth is still rotating and revolving. It hasn’t come to a standstill. But, human life feels the impact of unreconciled strained ties. Hatred breeds hatred and Love breeds love.

How then do we deal with the wrong done to us by a friend?

The easy way out is, of course, to shun all ties. But then, reconciliation is just the opposite of it. The answer to the above question is – deal with love. Sounds a bit impractical, doesn’t it? True.

How do you talk sweetly to a friend who has publicly ridiculed you? How do you go back and love your husband who has hurled abuses at you? How do you love your business partner who has syphoned huge amounts and got you thrown into prison? How do you love your wife who has cheated on you and is romantically involved with someone else? And, do you need to be reconciled with such people at all? ‘Not needed’ – many would say. ‘Not humanly possible’ – I say. Not possible unless we invoke the power of the Almighty to renew and strengthen us from within. It is for God Almighty to avenge the evil, injustice and wrongs that plague humans, and He sure does it in His way and in His time. Not for you and I to think of ways to get even and scheme and strategise the means for the same.

Reconciliation follows forgiveness and needs repentance as a necessary precursor. It takes one to forgive (or seek forgiveness) but, two to reconcile. Unless there are realization and repentance from the erring party, any desire for reconciliation doesn’t materialize.

That gives an easy excuse. Of course, you and I cannot go to such extreme extends to make an erring party realise, repent, seek forgiveness and have the desire to be reconciled. This is being over-ambitious for one’s self. And here again is where we need the power of the Almighty as He alone is the one who transforms human hearts and with God nothing is impossible – absolutely nothing!

Reconciliation not only restores friendly ties but also elevates us to a higher platform of functioning. It ensures a continued flow of love, peace and joy in our heart. It aids our soul to reflect the character of God in us. You see, while we broke away from God owing to our sin, He walked towards us to restore the friendly ties. And so, when we strive to reconcile with others, we strive for a greater goal!

Think about the depths of these words as the next six articles would take the topic to further details.

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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.

 

REPENTANCE IS THE CALL WHICH SAVES US FROM ALL OUR REGRETS

Looking back at my life I feel really frustrated, angry, sad and confused thinking if I would be given a chance to change some events of my life then I don’t know which one to change first to make my now better.

I have a list of regrets which really can’t be rectified. Nobody can change my past. And if I ask God then He will deny by saying, ‘I won’t change it even I can change everything.’

On Monday I wrote about regrets are being the unpleasant blockades which might ultimately help us for a better future when we take a turn from there. But when we ignore the penitence or regrets or sorrow or agony that we go through as a consequence of our choices then we suffer again in future.

The scripture says, “Since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God.

Let me explain…

We all know we are created in the image of God. No other animals or living beings have conscience to think and decide. They don’t have the sense of right and wrong like a human being does. They don’t have that creativity and free will like human beings.

Human beings are creative like their maker and creator, God. Human beings have feelings to understand the hearts like the Creator. Human beings can love, have compassion and have emotions like their most loving and compassionate God.

Now that’s called to being created in His own image to have all His attributes or glory which we lose it when we commit sins whether we have regret about it or not. (God’s glory is much bigger than what I explained here; it’s just a small part of it what I mentioned.)

Now repentance is essential to start the restoration process. Repentance  for our wrong doings are the first step towards the restoration of our original image, our God given image.

Let’s get into some practical life examples of what we just got to know above.  

Couple of days ago, Prabhjot said that her decision of choosing certain friends was regrettable as it took her to the pit though she had overcome it already. Her friends became a problem and my ‘No friends’ became a problem for me.

Let me explain again…

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” ― John Wooden

It was tough test for me in which I failed utterly being alone at home all the time for my health conditions. I was enslaved with many addictions that took away my heart from the best things to the worst ones.

The worst ever thing happened to me when I landed here in Kolkata. I was introduced to the world of Yahoo Messenger and was glued to the computer screen of an internet cafe, hours for almost 3 years of my precious life. The most regrettable sin that I had committed in those three years was… I wasted my time, I wasted my money, I wasted my mind and I wasted the gifts God had given me. All were very precious for a person who stepped into a new place, a new job with a new set of inspirations. I laid a worst ever foundation of my work career. If I would not have wasted those precious jewels in my life then I would have gained lot more in life by now. I would have achieved more for the people and the purpose for which God had called me. I lost the best part of it.

Well, what is done is done and I have to take my regret as a lesson to be careful in future

But how?

The role of repentance begins here at this point of remorse and regret. Every choice of life we make comes with a cost. And that cost is paid through repentance. Repentance let me realize that if I make a mistake here, I might again be stuck with wrong decisions and continue to suffer. Repentance is something where I needed to take a U turn and change the directions completely. I needed to make this decision to honour God, my partner, my families and everybody around me or associated with me.

Instead of wallowing in the miry clay of negative regrets let’s turn back, repent and stay happy.

Stay Blessed!!!

REGRETS ARE THE BLOCKS TO DIRECT US TOWARDS THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Regretting or feeling contrite about or being penitent is always good for any individual when he or she tries to start afresh positively from that point of contrition or penitence. But if it is just a habitual feeling of remorseful and being the same old self after the passing of time then it is very hurtful for the person concerned and not helpful at all.

Why did I say hurtful?

It is because the regular feelings of remorseful are utterly draining and demotivating. Regrets, guilt, penitence are like nails and thorns on our pathways which might hurt us when we walk on those paths. But when we are aware of them and avoid the path we will be safe or else we will be suffering ever time we tread in those paths.

You can ask, ‘how do I know?’ I can confirm you by saying, “I struggle daily handling with my guilt, contrition and regrets…”

Let me give an example…

I have a procrastinating spirit working within me which always whispers in my ears lovingly, “Baby, we can finish it tomorrow…” And I listened to my darling friend and suffer with loads the very next day. I regret, feel penitent about it and repent, “I will never keep things for the last moment…”

And… my buddy comes the second day again with more amazing proposals in his hands to allure me to take a break and do it tomorrow.

This was just a very simple and small instance that I gave. But when there is life changing events happen as a result of our mere regrettable actions then it is very dangerous. Sulagna set an example by working on her regrets and turning the other way by shifting to a different career path; She mentioned it in detail in the Mega Article yesterday. 

Regrets should be the stumbling blocks for us so that we can turn right away and move towards the right direction. If we are not then it’s no point regretting.

Stay Blessed!!!

 

REALIZE, REPENT, RELEASE AND RESOLVE TO REFRAIN

Conscience is the soft gentle voice of reproach present within all individuals. When a person is preparing himself / herself to commit an erroneous act, there is a sure nudge of the conscience that s/he experiences. However, continuous and repeated acts of misgivings as a result of consciously ignoring the pricks of the conscience, result in a dead conscience. When a person commits an erroneous act the very first time, there is a considerable amount of guilt. This is because the person feels convicted by the nudging of the conscience. At this juncture, a person responds in either of the following two ways:

  • The person responds to the conscience by realizing the mistake, repenting for it and resolving never to repeat it

  • The person ignores the convicting voice within and goes on with life as though s/he has not committed any wrong

Responding in the first way, makes it possible for the person to overcome the guilt pangs with time. However, a person who chooses to ignore the voice of the conscience fails to overcome the guilt within. Rather s/he masks the guilt by various means. Overtime, s/he turns deaf to the voice of the conscience. As a result, the erroneous acts multiply and their intensities increase too.

Many of us have been nurturing a dead conscience within us throughout this year. And so we have ended up hurting ourselves and people around. Some others have been nursing our guilt pangs every single day, not knowing how to deal with them.

It is vital to keep the conscience alive by heeding to the gentle nudging at all points of time. To be conscience-stricken is to keep the way open to deal with the guilt within. The golden rule is: Realize, Repent, Release and Resolve to refrain.

Realize your mistake.

Repent for the wrongdoing.

Release the guilt pangs.

Resolve never to repeat it.

Bid a goodbye to all your guilt in the old year and welcome the New Year with freshness!

TRUE FORGIVENESS & GENUINE REPENTANCE BRING ABOUT RECONCILIATION


Forgiveness

TRUE FORGIVENESS

Reconciliation and Restoration does not happen immediately. It’s a gradual process which begins with true forgiveness. When we forgive someone from the heart without holding on to resentment…reconciliation begins. This is one side of the story.

GENUINE REPENTANCE

Reconciliation is a process which takes time to rebuild the trust…but again it depends on the genuine repentance on the part of the offender. This is the other side of the story.

HARMONY BETWEEN BOTH

Reconciliation focuses on restoring broken relationships and bringing about harmony. And where trust is deeply broken it takes much time.

FORGIVENESS FINALIZES RESTORATION 

Forgiving a person who has hurt us very badly is very difficult and regaining that trust seems even more difficult. But when we truly want to re-establish our relationship and forgive from our heart, we experience immeasurable joy and peace that words cannot express.

Therefore, friends…forgive, reconcile and restore …and reward yourself with peace and joy.

Indira Patra