Pathway to Reconciliation

Pathway of ReconciliationToday and in the weeks to come we’ll be delving into what should happen as we turn our efforts toward reconciliation. I’ll be addressing reconciliation from both the viewpoint of the offended and the offender (and yes, don’t exclude yourself from offender’s perspective! We’ve all been the offender in someone’s life at some point). Here are just some of the topics to come …

As the offender:

  • How do I break through my own denial?
  • How and when should I apologize? How many times should I apologize?
  • What amends should I make and how far should I be willing to go with them?
  • How do I maintain perspective and humility, so that I avoid reoffending?
  • How do I live in a boundary-protected relationship?

As the offended:

  • What should I require and expect of my offender?
  • How and when should I accept an apology?
  • What amends should I ask my offender to make?
  • What boundaries do I need to set and how do I communicate them?
  • How do I let go of the bitterness and trust my offender again?
  • What are the signs that reconciliation is not going to work?

Before we really dive in though, I want to set the stage for a challenge that I’m proposing to you, as well as, to myself. Both offenders and the offended need this in order to fully forgive and ever hope to have a chance to reconcile …

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” –Philippians 2:5-8

I’ve prayerfully meditated on what I thought the name of this challenge should be for weeks, even months—since I thought about this idea as far back as December. I think this name captures what I feel God wants us to have …

Broken-Hearted Devotion

 

I’ll be explaining what that’s all about and what part you can have in this challenge very soon!

For now, I want to give a shout out to a few posts/bloggers that I think are definitely worth checking out, if you haven’t already …

 

What part of the process of reconciliation is most confusing or fearful to you?

 

What prayer would you share with us today—asking for a humble heart like Christ’s?

 

Signature - Beth

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Congrats to BlueCottonMemory, our winner of the ebook - That Works For Me. And thanks to all of you who participated and shared your knowledge. I’ve got a special surprise for you that you’ll receive in an email from me. 

* To read the previous post in our ongoing series on forgiveness click – Does Forgiving Require Reconciliation?

Joining with  Works for Me Wednesday, Marriage, Motherhood and MissionsTo Love Honor and Vacuum, Whimsical Wednesday and Wholehearted Wednesday

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  • Mary

    Admitting I am wrong is a difficult first step because of the fear that the act of reconciliation could become a confrontation. I am speaking from experience and instead of moving toward a place of healing more hurt is heaped on in this process. My prayer is that God’s loving touch reach us all during the process of reconciliation and His grace allows us to humbly accept that each person is hurting and healing needs to follow.

    • Mary

      Thank you for the shout out above, sweet Beth! Wednesday hugs to you!!!

      • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

        You are quite welcome, my dear! Was glad to do it!

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Oh yes, Mary, those wounds are tender and if the offender is not in a good place, it can really put you heart in danger of further and more painful injury. That’s a beautiful prayer too. I echo your thoughts and thank you for coming by to weigh in, sweet friend!

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  • JosephPote

    “What part of the process of reconciliation is most confusing or fearful to you?”
    The vulnerability. Emotional vulnerability is scary. Emotional vulnerability to someone who has proven themselves untrustworthy is terrifying.

    • JosephPote

      And when I’m on the offender side of the equation…emotional vulnerability with high risk of rejection is also terrifying.

      • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

        Isn’t that interesting that it’s really the same issues that trip us up on both sides of the equation. I guess that’s why we must live by faith! Thanks so much!

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Yes, that’s so true. When people have proven untrustworthy this process can be quite painful and fearful. Thankfully God goes with us through the scary parts. Thanks so much for faithfully coming by to encourage me, Joe! Even if I don’t always have to time to reply, I see your support and am grateful, my friend!

  • Kim Adams Morgan

    Beth, I can’t tell you what a joy it has been to read your posts as my husband has struggled to reach out to his estranged father after 30+ years. It gave me words to encourage him. This past Saturday while I was away, he picked up the phone and did just that. They talked for 5 hours. It seemed they’d both been praying about it for many months and wanting to reconnect. There was immediate repentance as the conversation got started and understanding on my husband’s side that when you are young, you just don’t have all the context to see things clearly. He also apologized for staying away for so long. We will be seeing him for the first time next month. Forgiveness is a beautiful gift our Father has given to us. It should always be given to others. I’ve prayed for this day for a long time. Blessings, sweet friend.

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      I’m so honored to receive your encouragement on this series, Kim! And what a powerful impact for your husband and his dad. That reminds me of all the multiple implications and ripple effects our ministries and blogs set into motion through the Hand and favor of God. What a gift to hear about it on this one day. You’ve blessed me!

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  • http://www.ugochi-jolomi.com/ Ugochi

    I often get very emotional and sometimes I cry… I feel vulnerable at those times…. Whether I am apologising or stating my offence.

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Yes, it is a time when our emotions come to the surface. That can make it both better for healing and more vulnerable for additional hurt. Great thoughts, Ugochi! I always love hearing from you here, my friend!

  • http://www.beckykopitzke.blogspot.com/ Becky Kopitzke

    I really appreciate your series on forgiveness and reconciliation, Beth. I’m recommending it to somebody I love today. :)

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Thank you, Becky. I feel honored that you’ve been so supportive and encouraging of me here. Thanks also for sharing with others. That’s a double blessing!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Thanks for the ShoutOut!

    This really made me think, When I first married, I was an idiot. Had no idea of what being married was about, made a mess of it, and was divorced within a year.

    And remarried – to the same woman – less than a year after that.

    The road to reconciliation was one that I had to walk with a counselor, in the early stages. I couldn’t walk it alone, and certainly not with my wife at that point. I had to gain self-awareness, awareness of the other person in my life, and awareness of how submission was required to fit into that team.

    Submission was a crucial point. I had to learn that my interests were second to those of my wife, and second to the marriage itself. It was a hard lesson, and sometimes it still is.

    My prayer? That God minimize the damage I do through pride and ignorance. That pretty well sums it up.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-marriage-team.html

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      You’re welcome, Andrew. I’ve really enjoyed your blog and am so glad to see it in the link up each week!

      You’re honest and sober view of your heart at that time is so funny and relatable. At least for me. Maybe that’s why I am so passionate about the underlying foundation we must have in Christ in order to forgive. I think it’s easy to see this issue from the offender’s point of view and miss that humility is needed for the offended as well. Thanks for that prayer too, Andrew. I echo that sentiment as well.

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  • Megan@DoNotDisturb

    Very much looking forward to reading what you write regarding reconciliation. I am in a struggle right now with someone who does not believe there is a difference at all between forgiveness and reconciliation. I am really looking forward to how your deal with the boundaries issue. There are many boundaries I believe need to be in place but still want to live a life of peace and forgiveness rather than just completely withdrawing. I definitely need wisdom in this.

  • MommySue

    You are too kind to have given a shout out to my blog! Thank you!! Many blessings to you Sweet Sister! Thank you for the encouragement you give us all!!

    In His Grace,

    MommySue

  • http://www.creeksideministries.blogspot.com/ Linda@Creekside

    oh Beth, why does my computer struggle so to access your site … especially when our hearts resonate so closely together?
    sigh.
    anyway, I love these questions you’re putting on the table. they are huge and significant, and I for one, can’t wait to see what you have for us in the weeks ahead. you always have a rich feast for us to savor, and I can’t wait to dig in to the next course!
    hugs.

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