As citizens of the Kingdom of God, we are all required to forgive and never hold any unforgiveness within us. We are also required to love. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you...For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
I beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love...And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
We forgive, we love but we are not required to trust in anyone but God. Trust is earned and that cannot be rebuilt quickly. There is no microwave trust. Restored trust is only rebuilt as the 'fallen' person rebuilds their character and their relationship with the Lord Jesus.
Restoration requires work and time. No one can lay hands on the fallen one make them restored and ready to go back into their previous position...in their ministry and their family. Trying to subvert the process of restoration does no one any good, especially not the one being restored. When they are put back in a position of leadership too quickly, it causes them to hide their true condition and put on a good face. They are still wrestling with the demons that took them down, but now they don't dare allow anyone to know. They know that failing a second time will most likely be a fatal blow to everything they hold dear in their life. If you have the gift of discerning of spirits, you will see right through their mask. I have wrestled with that quite often. If we say anything, we are called judgmental. So we pray for them, in reference to what we see, unless a clear opportunity comes to speak to the one being restored.
True Kingdom restoration is focused on the fallen one's relationship with God and their family. Restore the man (or woman) and restore the family. Money and hard choices put a stop to true restoration. What man restores is temporary. Only what God restores will last. I will share a little of my past as an example of a broken family from man's restoration:
My father was the pastor of a small church. When I was a teenager, we had our first public "scandal" when he had an affair with a married woman in the church. Dad confessed to my Mother, then the family and finally the congregation. Some of us forgave him--but not my Mother; some of the congregation forgave him but the rest left. If he had stepped down from the church, it probably would have closed, he would have had to find a job and a place to live (we lived in the parsonage). Hard choices, hard consequences. So he continued being the pastor. Mom stopped attending the church. He became "infamous" among his fellow pastors and church leaders, some of whom had been his friends.
But the long-term costs were far higher. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Because he was never restored, there were other women, many years down the road. There was divorce, unforgiveness and pain. Soon after the first scandal, even though I was just a very naive teenager, I married and left the state. Looking back I can see that was my escape. That also ended with an adulterous husband and so much broken trust and pain. My mother carried her unforgiveness to the grave. His relationship with my sister was forever broken. The family was broken and never made whole again. It adapted and changed. It was his ministry and employment that should have adapted and changed because the family should have been the priority for restoration.
Hard truth: During restoration, a fallen minister would be far better off working as the church custodian and lawn care employee and sitting in the congregation than getting back in the pulpit. Humility is part of a Kingdom restoration. Be a walking, talking example of true Kingdom restoration!
Kingdom restoration only comes through the Holy Spirit and the one being restored. They get counseling. We forgive, pray and love them. The one who sinned does the work, thanking God for His grace and mercy through the process.
If you are the one being restored, remember the story of Abraham and Isaac, when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. Are you willing to sacrifice your ministry, your job, your economic stability and your pride to save your relationships, your family, your reputation and most of all your relationship with the Father? Give it all to Him, trusting that if it be His Will you will get it back, better than it ever was before! And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Nothing worth having is ever easy. There are no quick fixes for adultery, addictions and all things that break trust and destroy families. Some things will never be the same. Settle that in your mind. Do you really want things to be the same? But with restoration the Kingdom way, they can be better than you could ever imagine. You may look back and thank God that you have been delivered from the life you were living, though the process was painful.
If you love someone who has betrayed you and broken your trust--forgive, love, pray and know that God is able to restore them beyond anything you can imagine or think....if they will humble themselves through the process. Don't give up on them yet. Pray, pray, pray and TRUST in our King Jesus for restoration.
I think this is an excellent scripture passage to meditate on through the process of Kingdom restoration:
Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 4:32 Matthew 6:14-15 Ephesians 4:1-2 Mark 12:30-31
Mark 8:35-37 Genesis 22:12 I Peter 5:5-11
Keep seeing the Kingdom FIRST,
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