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Mar
03

How to Restore a Broken Relationship 2

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Genesis 45 gives us a text book model for how to restore a broken relationship. These principles were true then, were later affirmed by Jesus during his earthly ministry, and are still effective today.

First, Joseph created privacy (Genesis 45:1-4). After he cleared the room of his attendants, Joseph revealed his true identity to his brothers. I believe one of the greatest mistakes we make in restoring broken relationships is missing this vital step. Jesus affirmed this step in the counsel he gave his disciples in Matthew 18:15-19. Many situations are unnecessarily escalated because we miss this vital piece of biblical counsel. As a rule of thumb, the circle of conversation should never be greater than the circle of the offense.

Step two is to make the goal reconciliation (Genesis 45:5). If you read this verse aloud, you can hear the tone and the spirit of Joseph’s words. He used words of acceptance and understanding versus words of manipulation and guilt. The brothers were at his absolute mercy, yet his goal was not revenge. His goal was reconciliation. He spoke with words and a spirit of forgiveness before these brothers even had a chance to respond.

There are a couple of things that are important to share at this point. So allow me to pull over to a parking space for a moment. First of all, we have to remember that forgiveness is an act of the will.
It’s a choice. Forgiveness in its purest form is releasing someone from a debt to consider the matter no longer. If you wait for the “feelings of forgiveness ” to wash over you, you’ll waffle back and forth. It is a decision. In God’s economy, feelings follow choices.

The second thing I want to suggest while the meter is running is that the purpose of confrontation must be redemptive in its purpose. If your goal is not redemptive and you are not seeking reconciliation, you are not ready. You’re merely looking for revenge. Don’t use your wound as a weapon. That’s not going to be helpful.

Step three is to remain focused on the big picture (Genesis 45:6-8).
Look at how Joseph has been able to see God at work in this process:
• 45:5 God sent me…
• 45:7 God sent me…
• 45:8 Not you, but God…
• 45:9 God has made me…
• 50:20 God intended for good…
Joseph got a raw deal from his family. There’s no question about that. But one of the things that made him who he was is that he never lost sight of God during his years of adversity! Remember, its not what happens to me that matters, its what happens in me that counts!

Create privacy. Make the goal reconciliation. Stay focused on the big picture. Those are the first three steps. Tomorrow I’ll finish up this week’s series with the final three steps on how to restore a broken relationship.

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