Initiating Reconciliation in a Broken Relationship

Broken relationships are a part of the broken world that we live in. Whether a romance that fell apart, friendships that ended in a fight, or rumors that destroyed our place of community, most of us have gotten beaten up by it, some worse than others.

And in the Church, that knife can drive even deeper.

Since we’re all part of the body of Christ, shouldn’t we always get along with each other perfectly and just sort of float around on Sunday mornings on little clouds of Shekinah glory? If this is the case at your church, email me, because I want a piece of that. But for us here on Earth, this is generally not the case. And because this isn’t the case, we need to know how to be an active part of God’s restoration work in making broken things whole. Starting with our relationships with our brothers and sisters.

Initiating Reconciliation in a Broken Relationship The Navigators

But before I set out the most crucial steps in the process, I have to lay the foundation for everything else I’m about to say, which is this: You must be rooted in your identity in Jesus Christ. If you don’t start with a firm grasp on that, finding reconciliation is like finding your way home with a compass that always points back at you. You have to know that God is our Dad. That He has been in love with every part of us since the beginning of time. That He paid in blood, sweat, and tears so that He could get His family back from the murderer who stole us away. You have to understand that Dad already won the fight. But you’re still pretty messed up from all that time you spent getting lied to and beaten up before Dad got you back. And your brothers and sisters are still pretty messed up, too. But you’re back with Dad now. You don’t have to live like you’re still out in the cold.

Once you know that, you’re ready to tackle step 1.

5 Steps to Reconciling a Broken Relationship

Step 1: Know, without doubt or reservation, that you can do nothing to repair the brokenness in the other person’s heart.

Contrary to what our initial impulse is, we have to remember that we are not in the business of making broken things whole or healing the deep hurts of the soul. Dad has to be the one to do that. Your role is to tear down all the barriers of pain or resentment that you put in their path, then step back as Dad sits down beside them and helps them start picking up the pieces.

Step 2: Pray hard and listen carefully.

If you’ve never really understood what people mean when they say, “Prayer is a conversation, not a monologue,” now is the time to find out. Most of us approach prayer like we do a diary. But here’s the thing: you’re not journaling. You’re talking to your Dad. He’s sitting quietly on the couch in front of the warm fireplace, sipping a cup of steaming hot chocolate. He looks up at you and smiles. He just so happens to have a second cup next to him, just waiting for a certain someone. So wander over to the couch, plop down next to Dad, and talk to Him. Tell Him what’s going on in His favorite kid’s life. He already knows, but He likes to hear it from you anyway.

Step 3: Apologize.

No apology, no reconciliation. Pretty simple. But go one step further: be the first to apologize, rather than wait for the other person to own up to their part first. Fact: it takes two people to mess up a relationship. It takes three to mend it. You can’t help Dad break down the roadblocks of hurt and resentment that you’ve built up (intentionally or unknowingly) while insisting you didn’t do anything wrong. You’re going to have to be vulnerable. You’re going to be uncomfortable. But don’t push away. Don’t use half-apologies to avoid the heart of the issue. Own your actions. Matthew 5:23 says, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with them; then come and offer your gift.”

Step 4: Surround yourself with wisdom and godly advice.

Sometimes, mending a broken relationship is as simple as giving out that apology, and the two of you can start fresh. But more often, it is a process that takes time, effort, and a tenacious will to engage in uncomfortable conversations. If you’re going to do this well, make it your business to seek out wise men and women that love Christ and embody wisdom and discernment, and ask if you can have their ongoing support and guidance as you work through some tough times. If you don’t really have someone in a mentor role in your life, it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. Essentially it’s as easy as finding someone in your church you want to be like, and spending time with him or her. Ask him questions. Soak up the wisdom that she gives you. Look closely at his thoughts and life patterns, and if that lines up with biblical truth, adopt them into yours. But be careful here—if you’re not completely gut-level honest with the people you invite to speak into your life (and with yourself) and serious about following their guidance, their input is pointless.

Step 5: Know that in some cases, the most necessary thing to do is step away.

There are some relationships so broken that even after a long season of prayer, earnest pleas for forgiveness, and acting on wise advice, there are barriers that can’t be torn down by human hands. Once you’ve set aside every barrier you possibly can, it’s time to take a few steps back and ask Dad to step in and be Dad. A word of warning: This is a step that should not be taken without the utmost earnestness of prayer and an abundance of wise counsel; it will often be perceived as a fresh wound of betrayal.

Okay. Take a deep breath, we made it through. You all right? I know that was pretty heavy. Breathe.

Friends, there is no more direct road to sanctification than active reconciliation. It’s tough. It’s messy. But walking into the process of reconciliation with hands and heart wide open will allow God to hunt down and destroy the strongholds of pride and pain in your life. He’s Dad. He loves us outrageously, completely, and without restraint. And He knows how much we hurt ourselves and everyone around us when we clench our fists so tightly around our pride and our hurt.

But don’t worry. Dad’s pretty good with fixing this kind of stuff.


Originally published in the Navigators Military Frontline newsletter, May 2014.

Comments:

  1. Thank you for this article… I am in the last step of this now and it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I am the one who people lean on to help get through things like this. But now it’s hard leaning on your self.

    I would like to ask for prayers please for us please

  2. Please pray for us after 4 years of divorce the Lord has asked me to reconcile with my ex husband. This is difficult because I left.

  3. Praying for reconciliation with my partner! I have two weeks before moving out! I ask if it’s god will that he move on our behalf! I don’t want anything selfish.. I just want my partner to love the lord and go to him in time of trouble! I pray that he falls in love with god! If god will for us to be together he make it crystal clear that we both can see!
    In Jesus name
    Amen

    1. BB you actually do need to move out, if you’re not married you should not be living with a “partner”. It sounds like some type of same sex relationship which is an abomination to the Lord so repent and trust in Jesus Christ sincerely!

  4. Praying for reconciliation with my partner and that God would change his hardened heart and stubbornness, that God would lead him back to me healed and ready to start again. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen

  5. Please I need Gods intervention to restore my three years relationship back with Ben,although his seeing another lady but I know with God all things are possible

  6. My brothers and sisters in The Lord, take courage and know that He is Lord, our Dad. I pray that Dave will fall in love with Lord Jesus. I pray that The Lord, our Dad, will wipe away all the tears, all the years of sorrow, pain and failures. I pray that The Lord Jesus will have his way in Dave’s heart and his life. In Jesus Name. Amen.

  7. I pray that after a harsh breakup we reconcile. I pray he sees the steps I have taken to right my wrongs I pray his heart is no longer hardened because of me and he sees that the love is there and we can fix it and make it work like we’ve always talked about

  8. I’ll continue to pray for my daughter and her ex that they are able to reconcile with guidance from God. They are best friends and have overcome so much together seeing them struggling apart and not being their true selves is heartbreaking. Pray for their reconcilation. Amen.

  9. I pray that our father touches her heart and it become soft and accepting of my love. I pray that she forgives me for all my wrongs. I pray that god forgives me and her for what wrongs we have done. I pray that we shall reconcile and her and my 3 kids return to me. I pray god shows her how my values have changed. I am at your feet father god please help me find the courage and strength to reconcile my family. Give me the patience to not rush as it is on your time. Tha k you lord i love you.

  10. I thought I was in this alone, but after being led here; I am not. Please join me in praying for restoration and reconciliation b/w my ex girlfriend and myself. A lot of things were said that shouldn’t have been said, but we are both human. God is a good and gracious, who does all things well. I do believe we were meant for each other, but need a cooling off period. I just pray that God can soften her heart and help us to get pass this speed bump in our journey and open the lines of communication again. I love her…

  11. I am greatful to have found this. I said hurtful words to my fiancee and yet he had told mom he wants to marry me. I apologised but he said he needs space. I love him and know we are meant for each other. I pray that God touches his heart and soften it and reconcile us back together. But i know we are reconciled in the spiritual and will soon manifest in the physical. Please pray for me i love him , he’s my husband.

  12. Praying for reconciliation with my friend. It has been 3 long years and many apologies for what I did to him, but no communication in return. I am just waiting on God at this point. I hope that He hears my prayers.

  13. What a great article. I ask the lord to be with me in this tough time to help my wife heal from the hardness in her heart. Lord I can only ask you and leave my faith in you that you can help my family stay together. Lord I know I’ve taken things for granted and now my wife has my full attention however she believes the wedge between us is so large that reconciliation isn’t possible. Lord I love my wife and my family is everything to me please help us lord Jesus. In Jesus’s name I pray Amen!

  14. Praying for reconciliation with my Wife. She moved out with our 6-year old daughter. Seeking collective Prayer to our Father to move swiftly in this Situation. The enemy is attacking, Help me fight back brothers and sisters, I’ll do the same. In the name of our Lord Jesus, Stand With Me.

  15. Prayer for reconciliation with my ex fiancé. I know what mistakes I’ve made, and have been praying for two months now and am waiting on Gods good timing. I feel the wedge that drove us apart was actions I made and by lying. I did apologize but I know that is never enough. I would like to continue on our path to marriage and I know God did this so I could see the truth of my actions.

  16. The relationship between me and my younger brother has been shattered. He has blocked me from calling him and instructed me not to email him. I’ve apologized for everything I could think of having done wrong, but he treats me as if I do not exist. He wants me to stay away from him. How do you reconcile with someone like that? He has falsely accused me of bullying him and spread his anger to our sisters so that I’ve essentially been kicked out of the family and don’t even know what I did wrong, he won’t be specific. This is the saddest aspect of my life and seems nobody wants to help the two of us reconcile. I love my brother (and sisters) and always have. But seems you can’t make someone like you or love you. Even the (new) command of Jesus to love one another apparently has no effect on my brother. If you can’t love your brother or sister who you CAN see, how can you claim to love God who we cannot see? But he goes merrily along in a ministry position, unaccountable in the Body of Christ toward me. I never thought anyone who called themselves a Christian would treat me this badly, as invisible. My hope is in Christ and one day He will wash away all our tears. In heaven, we won’t remember these bad things as we will worship together at the feet of Jesus. Anyone have advice for me? – Douglas [dubya126617@yahoo.com]

  17. Praying for reconciliation with a very special man God brought into my life. I miscommunicated in a note to him which was misinterpreted and caused a huge misunderstanding. I apologized & took full responsibility but he will not speak to me. Marie

  18. I took my relationship for granted and I lost it. I have apologized for my wrongs but my partner’s heart is hardened. Please pray for a miracle of reconciliation in Jesus name.

    1. Hi Rachel, I am sorry to hear about your loss as I feel your sadness and pain. I too had a four year relationship with someone and we broke up this past January. We are in reconciliation but it is one of the most difficult things I have ever done like the article states. I like you took my relationship for granted even though what led to our breakup was me finding him talking to another woman. Today, I am in pain and I pray to God for courage and wisdom. God Bless you!

  19. I have been estranged from a person who was my manager and friend for two years. He was like a father and mentor to me. He falsely accused me of doing something seriously bad at work and he has such an enormously ego, he couldn’t admit he made a mistake. He did it because he believed I was creating a parallel work project. He never formally accused me or gave me a chance to reply. I am very angry with him and I would like to express my anger. Should I write to him now?

  20. Praying for reconciliation with my fiancé. We spent five years together with highs and lows. I know that I have not seen what healthy love is. At times I have taken him for granted, not appreciated him, and did not show up in our blended family. I love Jermaine and miss our blended family. I know what I contributed to our relationship ending. Each day I am becoming a woman before god. I pray that god will forgive my sins, and talk to Jermaine into forgiving me. Thank you father good for not giving up on me and us. Amen

  21. My boyfriend and I were in a serious relationship. We quarreled, I did reach out and apologize. Brain is a widower and in the end he decided he was ready for a relationship. We were supposed to get married, so I am deeply hurt. Please pray Brain is able to move on after losing his lovely wife 5 years ago. I am praying that Brain will heal and that our relationship will be reconciled. It really hurts deeply. I miss him.
    Thank you

  22. this article is essentially touch especially to those who have hurt some one and have been denied forgiveness and reconciliation by the victims. though peace is fur-reaching at the moment JEHOVAH say that we make peace with everyone, and he is there helping us do just that.

  23. I pray that the Lord sees my reconciliation and sees that I’ve put my heart into all these problems trying to fix them and give it my all and I have asked for forgiveness and I can’t get a response so I need him to step in and fix these issues in Jesus’s name.

  24. Pray for me and my ex girlfriend. She dumped me for a guy she works with and it has crushed my heart. She is a great Christian woman but she has told me there was nothing tangible and then she said she does not regret her decision. She blocked me on Facebook because she says she feels guilty how she hurt me. I am glad she blocked me because now I can’t look at her. I pray and pray about our relationship. So far the answer is no or wait. All my friends say move on. I am trying to let go and let God because I can do nothing about her. Just pray if it is God’s will we get back together and if not let me forget about her.
    .

  25. Doug,

    If I may ask, how are you doing? How is the relationship with your brother? Your comment touches home with me today as I have heard similar stands from my brothers in regards to one another. Heavy on my heart, I have prayed for the relationship of these two living brothers whose relationship is … well I’ll just say, in need of reconciliation, in my opinion. They both, say they don’t need the other, however each of them bring up the other in my conversations with them. Even if it is just the “Have you heard from anyone else?” meaning our other siblings. They also say it doesn’t bother them or the like, however their voice and words indicate the opposite, offense, hurt, anger, disappointment and disapproval.What is most heart breaking is that their dissension seems to be keeping each of them individually bound, and unfree. Perhaps it is lack of trust. Or perhaps it is just an attack from the enemy to keep them both from what they were created for.

  26. Praying for reconciliation with my husband, he hurt me so much, so I filed for divorce, he pleaded with me through out last year to come back (2020) but I was still very hurt. Please pray for restoration of my marriage, I love my husband a lot.

  27. Praying for reconciliation between my boyfriend and I of 4 years. Not only were we together for 4 years, we were childhood friends and lovers on and off for 18 years. He recently ended things with me 3 days ago and I am praying that this breakup makes us both better people for each other. I have prayed, cried and pleaded with God to bring us back together. Someone please pray for me.

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