Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restora-tion, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.
—2 Corinthians 13:11
After a long and sometimes stern letter to the Corinthian church, Paul ends with four commands on how the believers should treat one another. Be restored, be encouraged, be of one mind, and be at peace. Paul calls for unity in the church.
Often we settle for living with broken relationships. We get frustrated with others and vow to keep them at arm’s length. Sometimes we talk more about someone than to their face. God calls us to strive for full restoration with one another.
There may be times when full restoration is not possible. The other party may be unwilling to move toward restoration. In Romans 12:18 Paul writes, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” We are not told that we need to make others live at peace with us. The only behavior we can control is our own.
And we can make the effort to reconcile relationships rather than let them fall apart. We can make a call, drop a note, or make an effort to talk about the strain in the relationship. Even though others may not reciprocate, at least we will know we have tried.
But sometimes we will be surprised by a person’s response. Making an effort to reconcile may bring unanticipated healing. It can be a moment in which everyone experiences God’s grace.
Lord, give us the courage to reach out in love to those who have hurt us. Grant restoration where that is possible. Amen.
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