I see parallels in the reconciliation steps David takes to reunite the kingdom following the war with Absalom, and the work of reconciliation required after the breakdown of relationships in day-to-day life – of which the aftermath can feel like war. What do you think?
- It’s painful. There’s always real loss when relationships break up. David cried out, Oh Absalom, my son, my son. Absalom’s death was real, but when oneness is broken between people, it can feel like actual death.
- It’s hard. In ensuing chapters, the constant battles begin to take their toll on David (2 Sam.21:15). Once unity is broken, most people move on, rather than do the hard work of reconciliation (Prov. 18:19).
- It takes two. Reconciliation cannot take place unless both parties are willing. Notice that the relational reconciliation in chapter 19 is not “imposed.” Jesus told us to go to our brother, but true reconciliation requires both sides to step up and own their part in the breakup.
- Forgiveness & reconciliation are not the same thing. Forgiveness is personal. Forgiveness is not dependent on anyone but you and God’s leading. If you have hard feelings for someone who has offended you, heed the writer of the warning found in the book of Hebrews, that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble (Heb.12:15).
- Reconciliation is the work of God. All this is from God (2 Cor. 5:18). Apart from God’s work in us, we will continue to be haters, and as with all things transformative, the redemptive work of Christ on the cross should be our focus. His sacrifice reconciled us to God, and empowers us to do so with others, for through the cross, he put to death our (their) hostility.