Restoring a Relationship


1.  Introduction

Romans 5:8.  “But God commends his love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”.

·         Commends = 4921 = to demonstrate, to prove, to exhibit, to show what He is like.

·         Gods love is revealed by how he treats us “while we are still in a sinful condition”.

·         Gods Love:     • Acknowledges the true state of the relationship.

                                    • Initiates action to restore the relationship

                                    • Pays a personal price to restore the relationship

                                    • Sets boundaries to protect His own character.


2.  God places Value on Relationships

Matthew 5:21-24.  “Leave your gift – go – first be reconciled”

·         The Pharisees were only concerned with the external behaviour – doing the right thing.

·         If the external is ok it did not matter what was unresolved. (Hate, anger, bitterness in the heart.)

·         Jesus revealed Gods original intention to walk in Love.

I.e. More important to have your heart right then perform outward religious actions. 

·         Anger without a cause = hatred = murder.

·         First Priority = Reconciled   = to change the mind, restore to favour.

                                                         = to bring back into unity 2 people separated/hostile.

4 Reasons We Must Priorities Relationships.

(i)         God commands us.  1John 4:20-21. “This command we have….love your brother?

(ii)        God calls us to Represent Him.    2 Cor 5:20.  “We are ambassadors for Christ.”

                  Eph 5:1-2.  Be followers of God…walk in Love

(iii)             God empowers us for ministry of reconciliation.  2 Cor 5:18

(iv)             God warns us of consequences of broken relationships.  Matt 18:34-35


3.  How to restore a Broken Relationship.

Matt 18:15-17.  “If your brother trespasses against you…go to him.”

(i) Offences can be Real or Perceived

·         Trespass = 264 = to sin, miss the mark, offend.

·         The trespass may be.

(a) Real            - he sinned against you or reacted with words/actions

                        - he treated you unjustly or unfairly

(b) Perceived   - he actually did nothing to harm you.

                        - You may have misinterpreted the actions

                        - his words/actions may have been misrepresented to you.

·         Real or imagined – the hurt/pain, anger is felt

·         What are you going to do about it?

(ii) The Most Common Response – Reaction

Prov 18:8.  The words of a talebearer are as “wounds’

·         The most common response – hurt – anger – reaction.

·         Talk to someone else and speak out of hurt.

·         Speak to retaliate – justifying self and accusing the offender

·         The result:  • The offence increases and is reinforced

                                     • The offence spreads sowing discord.  (Prov 6:16-18)

(Don’t let people download their offences on you – You are not a trash can.)

(“Why are you telling me this? Are your facts right? Did you go to them?)

(iii) The Biblical Direction: “You go to your brother alone”.


The Key Steps:


1)      Prepare your Heart

·         Don’t go in hurt, angry or frustrated

·         Must restore feelings and issues in the presence of God first

·         Go with the right purpose, to restore the relationship or change behaviour.


2)      Choose the Right Time and Place

·         Timing is important

·         Don’t do this if the other person is busy

·         Don’t do this in the presence of others

·         Arrange a suitable time and place to meet alone. (Matt 18:15)


3)      Speak Directly

·         Affirm the value of the relationship

·         Identify the words or actions that have offended

·         Explain how you feel/ how it has impacted you/ have you perceived it.

·         Ask for an explanation – You may have got it wrong.


4)      Listen

·         Don’t approach with your mind made up – listen with an open heart.

·         E.g.  God and Adam.  Gen 3:8-13.  God asked questions and listened before any judgment was pronounced.

·         E.g. Peter and Ananauas/Sophia.  Acts 5:1-6.  “Is it true?”

·         E.g. Joshua and the 2 tribes.  Josh 22:15-30.  “Is it true?”


5)      Own your own Part.

·         You may have contributed to the problem.

·         The person may become defensive and blame you.

·         Own your own part – even if only 10% - Apologise.

·         Apology: - “I was wrong – I am sorry – Please forgive me”


6)      If He Repents, Forgive.

·         God offers forgiveness to all sinners – repentance essential to receive it.

·         The person may not directly apologise – accept indirect efforts.

·         E.g. Jacob did not apologise to Esau – but offered gifts.

·         You may need to set new boundaries on the relationship

·         E.g. Jacob – set boundaries – did not expose himself to him again.