When General James Edward Oglethorpe said to John Wesley, "I never forgive," Welsey answered, "Then I hope, sir, that you never sin." But is forgiveness enough? Does God want me to go beyond forgiveness to restoration?
Forgiveness means you give up your bitterness and hatred for what someone has done. Restoration means reconnecting and re-establishing a relationship with the person who wronged you.
Forgiveness is a mental act; restoration is an emotional one.
Forgiveness means ending the war; restoration means going back home.
Forgiveness means you cease hating your enemies; restoration means you re-establish a relationship with them.
For many people, however, restoration is going too far. God not only requires you to forgive, He also asks you to go take the next step and to be reconciled with your enemy.
Three times the New Testament talks of restoration. In the first, Jesus said that you should be reconciled with your brother. The second says that a husband and wife who are estranged should be reconciled to each other, and the third says that you should be reconciled to God.
The story of the prodigal son illustrates the fact that forgiveness is the first step in restoration. Consider how the son returned to his father, who not only embraced him, but threw a feast because the son who was once lost was found, and the one who had been estranged had come home.
Restoration is coming home - to your spouse, to your brother, to your God. It's the end of the journey that God wants you to take.
Leave your gifts there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. MATTHEW 5:24