The Only Way to Mend Broken Relationships

Strife, conflict, and separation frustrate relationships of all kinds.  Anger, resentment, and hostility ooze into relationships and cause continued discord.  Broken relationships require reconciliation (Phl 4:1-4; Gal 6:1-2), but many fail to appropriate the grace and truth necessary to benefit themselves or the relationship (Heb 12:15).  Though many factors no doubt contribute to strife in any given relationship, the ultimate cause of conflict is “unforgiveness on the part of one or both parties.”[1]  Throughout the New Testament, the concept of forgiveness is a dismissal of debt (Luk 6:27, Matt 5:39, Acts 10:43). Forgiveness is the precursor to reconciliation.  When the offense has been dismissed then the relationship can be healed and restored.  Those who have committed a wrong or those who have been wrong both bear the responsibility to initiate reconciliation (Matt 5:23-24; Matt 18:15-18).  When both parties approach reconciliation biblically, the task is completed through humility and grace.  Many counselors have observed that, “Resolution is relatively easy when both parties respond as they should. But often one party is unwilling to bend.”[3]

The overarching imperative for reconciliation, regardless of circumstances, is Jesus’s powerful directive for discipleship: become known as someone who loves others without condition (John 13:35).  Jesus expected his disciples to acquiesce to His directive “by complete identification with the profound love Jesus has for us (see 1 John 2:7–8).”[4]

To forgive others is to portray a complete understanding of God’s love: forgiving others as God has forgiven you is the ultimate motivation for reconciliation (Eph 4:32, Matt 18:21-35).




[1] J. Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Reconciliation: Restoring Broken Relationships (Dallas, TX: 2008), 8.

[3] Insight for Living. Counseling Insights: A Biblical Perspective on Caring for People, (Plano, TX: 2007), 506.

[4] D. Willard, and D. Simpson, Revolution of Character: Discovering Christ’s Pattern for Spiritual Transformation (Colorado Springs, CO: 2005), 145-146.

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