Grace and peace to you! As I continue my journey towards understanding the grace and efficacy of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, guided by Martin L. Smith's book, of which I wrote last time, I happened upon a sentence in chapter one that has me believing, due to my constant pondering, that I am a near relative of the Blessed Mother :-)
"God's forgiveness is not the reward for having changed one's life, but the source and condition of that change."
At a glance, the sentence seems to speak only of the relationship between the believer and God; on closer examination, however, the impossibility of being fully present within that relationship, without reference to that held with others - especially where differences are allowed to decide whether or not such relationships are worth pursuing - is highlighted in a way that demands a response.
I have concluded, albeit not in any novel sense, since John 4:20 bears testimony to the same, that it is impossible to truly be reconciled to God and be an agent of reconciliation when differences with others are allowed to become barriers rather than bridges. The ability to humble oneself and thereby embrace the grace of forgiveness received and given, is a necessary step towards Godly recociliation. In other words, God's forgiveness is not a badge of honor to be worn but rather, the crucible in which all our relationships are nurtured and refined.
There's a lot to ponder here friends, as we examine the relationship between our response or to be more precise, our reaction[s] to those who differ from us and being agents of reconciliation. Would love to hear your thoughts.