Seeking Reconciliation

Question from a Site Viewer
Hebrews 12 says to strive for peach with everyone. I have wronged many people in my past, and I don’t even know how to get in touch with of all of them. I want to be sure I am saved as Hebrews 12:14 seems to say that reconciliation is needed for us to see the Lord.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14 (ESV)

Tim’s Answer
I think it is good that you want to try to be reconciled with others. Reconciliation is part of the character of God. But I think it is important to understand that there is not a set of hurdles that one must jump through to get to heaven and to enjoy the fellowship of God. One does not have to keep the law to get to heaven. What we have to understand is that we all are sinners and we all fall short of God’s glory. The verse you keep coming back to, Hebrews 12:14, does not say that we need to be reconciled with everyone. Some of us have hurt more people than we can ever reconcile with. There is no sense in the Bible that the great Apostle Paul sought to go back to each person he had persecuted and sought to reconcile with them. To the contrary, Scripture makes it clear that he did not do so. Many of those he persecuted were in Jerusalem and Paul, according to Scripture, spent very little time in Jerusalem and met with only a select group of people when he was there. But the church which he had persecuted heard that he had been changed by the Spirit of God.

So, rather than make it your aim to try to reach everyone whom you may have wronged, rather, make it your aim to not wrong anyone else and to live as a blessing to other people. As you come across people whom you have wronged, let them know that you are sorry for what you have done. But the idea that you need to go find each person, or send each person a letter, is not where I think the Spirit would be leading you. Rather, to the extent you remember, pray for God’s blessings on such people and live forward, not backward.

There may be certain people with whom you will have an ongoing relationship and for which you should seek them out to seek reconciliation. I believe it is these people that Jesus has in mind in Matthew 5:23-26. As much as lies within us, live peaceably with everyone. But, James reminds us that we all offend in many ways (James 3:2). It is for these offenses that we have a Savior. And, as we have opportunity, we want to try to make things right. But we stand in His righteousness even when we do not have opportunity or occasion to make peace with everyone.

So I commend your desire to be reconciled with others. That is a good thing. But to the extent that you are making it a law you must do, you are guilty of the same thinking of the Galatians. We need to stand fast in the liberty of Christ and not be entangled with these yokes of “you must do this; you shall not do that.” Please read Galatians 3-5 and see how God is telling us to live. Live in the freedom of love, and do not be entangled with a merits-based Christian life.

Again, I urge you to find a local assembly of believers and grow close to them. Find someone who is spiritual, and seek that person out and ask for their guidance in these matters. It is very difficult to walk the Christian life alone. Christ intended the church to be a body, where each member contributes to one another.

And may the Holy Spirit guide you into truth on this matter.

a pilgrim,

tim

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