Tools of Reconciliation

Anytime I hear the word reconciliation, I automatically think of a relationship being restored.  Luke 15 contains popular stories of reconciliation: The Parable of the Prodigal Son and The Parable of the Lost Sheep. 

However, nestled between those two parables is The Parable of the Lost Coin.  This is also a story of reconciliation, but of a different type.  In accounting, reconciliation has to do with being able to account for all money that has been brought in and out.  And in this situation, the woman is in a panic because she has lost one of ten coins. She cannot account for what she has been entrusted with.  Therefore there is a problem in her reconciliation until she finds the lost coin. 

She knows that the coin did not walk off and choose to leave her.   She knows that each of her coins was worth a day’s labor.  She knows she is responsible for its disappearance.  She lost it. Luckily, she does know she lost it under her roof.   

The woman chooses to search for the coin using two tools: a lamp and a broom.  She lit the lamp and was willing to let it burn until she found the lost coin.  This observation should not be overlooked.  It would have taken oil for the lamp to work and oil was valuable. However, she was willing to sacrifice one valuable resource for the sake of finding the most valuable resource. 

The next thing she used was a broom.  This was a simple tool that worked in partnership with the woman.  Unlike the lamp, she had to hold it and put it into motion for it to work.   Without the woman, the broom was worthless.   With the woman holding, pushing, pulling, and directing it, the broom became a tool that could get to hard to reach places and draw anything far back into close proximity of the woman.  

Reflecting on this parable, we need to think of a few things. 

  1. Who “under our roof” is lost that we need to account for and have access to? 
  2. As a lamp, are we a vessel full of oil that can be lit? Or is your lamp empty unable to hold a fire?
  3. Are you using the tool God gave you to reach the lost? Or, are you leaving it propped in a corner, relinquishing your ability to get to those in hard to reach places?  This could be your giftings, but also prayer. 

We need to reflect on this parable to realize that we are tools and have been given tools that God wants to use to reconcile the lost.  

You are a Tool of Reconciliation!

Be Blessed,

Erica

The Parable of the Lost Coin Luke 15:8-10

8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

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The Power of IT: Marriage

In my life there have been certain focuses and strongholds that have falsely formed my value and self-worth. Therefore, this series is a sort of testimony on each area before and after coming to Christ.

This IT has definitely been the one I put all my hope in instead of Christ. However, the Power of this IT placed in its proper order allows me walk in obedience to the covenant despite being divorced.

Before Christ:

As a little girl I remember picking white flowers in the backyard pretending that they were my wedding bouquet. As I grew up, I couldn’t wait to get married, love my husband, show him he was special, and have fun together. For the most part, when dating, I was always looking for someone who was marriage material.

The first time I saw my spouse walk into a class in college my mind went, “That’s him. That’s who I’m suppose to marry.” It was like this little checklist in my head of who he was and what he looked like just appeared and the only one who new the list was God. This is going to sound funny, but this was the list: Mexican-American guy (but a “coconut” like me), 5’10, hair on arms (I like fur but not on the back), looks good in a baseball cap, athletic, reserved, disciplined, morning person, hardworking, hardworking, hardworking, parents that are around the same age as mine, comes from a similar family background, believed in God, and had similar values.

Now of course, all of this I didn’t know the first time I saw him, but it’s like I knew it was all there. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that we started dating.

What was going on when I came to Christ.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but entering into the marriage I was already committing a very dangerous sin. I was idolizing my husband and also the institution of marriage.

How did this affect the marriage:
1. It put an unspoken pressure on him that he was perfect and could do no wrong.
2. My self-worth was deeply connected to how my spouse chose to love and treat me.
3. My value rested on whether or not I had a man who loved me.
4. Number #2 & #3 also put an unspoken pressure that he existed to meet all of my emotional needs.

Once I became a follower of Christ, the idolization of my spouse diminished, but not the institution of marriage. Christ alone wasn’t enough for me. I needed my marriage to be healed. I needed my dream to materialize. I needed to feel like enough which was through the status of being a cherished and loved wife.

I did learn how to lean on God and walk through the fire during the storms, but my method of choice in dealing with some major marriage issues made me an enabler and allowed toxic things to become deeply rooted in the foundation of our marriage.

I needed to be willing and ready to shut the door on the enemy instead of allowing him to linger. But I was afraid of losing IT: my spouse and marriage.

How is God working in my life today:

If I could go back just this past year, I would have suggested to myself to separate with a long-term mindset. Under the circumstances, I would need to start functioning independently of my spouse and focus solely on my relationship with God and let God take full control. This would be necessary and would have been better than divorce.

My six month separation followed by filing for divorce in hindsight wasn’t really long enough after eleven years to allow the Holy Spirit to workout and undo the damage done. Not because It couldn’t, but because as humans we are stubborn. Plus, it was a little late in the game for me to make such a strong stance of “enough is enough” and expect the mountain to start moving.

Ultimately, my situation today would not be too different except that maybe we would still have some communication.

It’s hard that I regret making that decision, when I was constantly seeking God, seeking out knowledge, and had pastoral guidance. I know that I had every right to move forward and was always out to only do God’s will. But, being emotionally detached from the relationship now, I have a clearer picture that long-term separation was an option instead of a divorce.

Filing left my spouse even more vulnerable to the devil’s schemes. Sure, he made his decisions and acted in his free-will, but there is a spiritual battle at play and at the root of the divorce.

Conclusion:

Today I still feel called to pray for my spouse and marriage reconciliation. This hasn’t always been easy. First, when I think about the entire situation, I don’t really want to. Second, I know what I’m dealing with and it is quite an impossible situation. It will literally take an act of God and a miracle to resurrect and restore the covenant legally. But if it does, it will be rebuilt on the foundation of God for His glory.

At this point I just have to trust and rest in God’s character determined to do His will.

1. God weighs all sin the same.
2. Therefore, one spouse’s sins are not greater or less than the others.
3. None of us are worthy of God’s love, because we all rejected the death of His son Jesus Christ in our habitual sinful nature before becoming saved.
4. Therefore, there is not another person more or less worthy of my love as a wife then the spouse I married on August 14, 2004.
5. We are called to become Christ like and His love is not withheld because of our sinful behavior. We choose not to accept His love when we continue to sin. Therefore, I will not withhold my love if an opportunity for restoration presents itself.
6. God is in the business of redemption, restoration, and reconciliation.
7. God loves my spouse more than I do and is pursuing him daily.
8. Sin causes a breakdown in a marriage. Who caused that? The devil.
How? Through temptation and deception
Why? To make a mockery of the marriage covenant and prevent us from becoming witnesses
9. God has already defeated the enemy and given me power over the enemy. I just need to activate it and engage in the battle no matter how long it takes.
10. Being single does not make me less valuable or desirable. It allows me to spend more time working for God’s kingdom.
11. A restored marriage makes a greater impact for the kingdom of God.
12. “It takes two to save a marriage: one spouse and God.” https://www.rejoiceministries.org/

Now, what IF I’m wrong and I am misunderstanding God. Well the following things are happening.

1. I’m seeking, searching, learning the power of prayer.
2. I’m learning to exercise my authority over the enemy.
3. I’m focusing on me and the areas that need to be refined and removed: pride, jealousy, competitiveness, lack of discipline in some areas, and food as a source of comfort.
4. I’m learning to find my value in Christ.
5. I’m challenged daily to view things from God’s truth and not what appears to be.
6. I’m learning to be complete outside of a relationship.
7. I’m developing into who God intended me to be. It’s like He is tearing everything down that was shaped by the world and starting to build me back up into what He desired all along.
8. I’m learning patience. Grrrrr 🙂
9. I get to share restoration resources I have found as an option to others who feel the same calling as I do.
10. God is and will always be my unfailing husband.

Am I really losing anything if I’m wrong? No, in fact I’m gaining so much. It’s a win-win situation for me no matter the outcome. My spouse, no matter what path he takes has someone praying for him with specificity that no other person can do because I know the battle he is under and how the enemy attacks him.

Luke 9:23
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

1 Corinthians 7:34-35
….An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

Proverbs 21:21
Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

To God be the Glory