The Bible makes it clear that we have been created for relationship—with God and with one another. When the relationships that form our lives are broken because of wrongful acts, genuine confession and loving forgiveness are the first steps toward repairing those relationships. This requires us to be honest with ourselves and with each other. It can be difficult—but genuine love can settle for nothing less.
Why? Is the path of pain so necessary in such cases of hurt and heartache? Yes, it’s important to see broken relationships healed. It’s also critical that we see hearts set free from bitterness (when having been hurt) or guilt (when having hurt others).
There is another reason, however. As members of God’s family, we are called to represent Him in the world. The apostle Paul put it this way:
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20).
As His representatives, we are to model His character and His ways in our dealings with one another—including an honest and genuine means for restoring broken relationships.
When we do this, we do more than heal the hurting and bind the wounded. We do more than absolve guilt or relieve bitterness. In fact, we put God’s perfect love on display—a love that is deep, fair, just, and determined to move us toward His good desires for us.
Though Paul’s words are in the context of evangelism, it is significant that they are also in the context of reconciliation. That is the point. When we engage in a ministry of restoration, we act as God’s ambassadors and reveal His love to a watching world.
The vocal group 4Him, in their song “Visible,” expressed this privilege and responsibility this way: “To make You known, to make You seen, to be Your hands, to be Your feet. I want to be a revelation of love. I want to make the invisible God visible.”
We must be committed to making God visible as we live out His model for genuine restoration.