I witnessed something beautiful today. Reconciliation.
In 2010, we quietly left the church I had attended for over fifteen years. We did not leave because we felt hurt or disappointed or anything like that. We left on good terms and have kept in touch with the pastor and other church members ever since.
This wasn’t the case for a few other church members that had left because they felt hurt or disappointed. Relationships were broken and they did not seek to make amends.
Today, that church celebrated a milestone anniversary. Those that attended over the years were invited to attend. It was great to see many of our old friends again. Some flew in. Some drove long distances. The kids we knew back then were not kids anymore. They were older and taller. Some from the youth back then were now married with children. Wow!
We saw a few that had left because they were hurt. They showed up to. For some, I could sense the uneasiness, the fear, and the wonder if they made the right decision to come. As they mingled, they came face-to-face with the deep conflict that drove them away. As they did, genuine apologies were made and tears were shed. Years of hidden hurt was thrown far away as relationships were restored and forgiveness extended and/or received. Reconciliation.
“You can’t experience real love until you experience deep conflict.” ~Author unknown
Every church experiences broken relationships and hurt. It’s really a normal thing that happens. The one I attend now experiences it. Your church experiences it. Every church experiences it. If ignored, it becomes baggage and ultimately a distraction from what God created you for. It dwelt upon, the same could happen. So, what should a church do? Seek opportunities for reconciliation and be open to that reconciliation should it occur. Deep conflict might occur but so can real love.