finally, brothers, rejoice. aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. [2 cor 13:11]
restoration and comfort. why do these go together? i learned the hard way about a year ago.
my husband and i had been going through a very rough season, and i had been holding all of my thoughts and emotions inside, not really sharing them with the Lord or with my husband. this led to a lot of confusion, anger, and bitterness, until all at once it came spilling out. not only did all of my thoughts come rushing, but the anger as well, some righteous, but mostly unrighteous. a lot of what i said may have been true, but it crushed him like a ton of bricks. we got in the car, and i said, “i feel so much better!” and was ready to then talk about it like a civilized human. but my words had done their work, and now he was focused on his sin, and it wasn’t until six hours later when we reached our destination, that he very gently pointed out what my episode had lacked. comfort. i was quick to bring his sin to light, but failed to bring him full circle into the grace of Christ.
Jesus never means for us to wallow in our sin, but to return to the joy of his salvation! should we feel the weight of our sin? of course. should we hate it as much as the Lord hates it? yes! but my friends, grace wins the day, every day, for those who are in Christ Jesus! to stay drowning in our guilt is not the purpose of God’s precious conviction.
he will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. as soon as he hears it, he answers you. and though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. [isaiah 30:19-20]
the purpose of conviction is restoration. restoration of our focus on him, restoration of our union with him, and restoration of our joy in him! so we can find comfort in restoration because of the endless storehouses of grace the Lord has for his children. so as his body, we aim for restoration, and we comfort one another with the hope of grace.
i’m far from fixing my lack of bringing comfort in the grace of Christ to others, especially those in my family. but God is faithful. i trust in his grace for me, and his promise to sanctify me from one degree of glory to the next.
gracious Father, full of love for me, help me to remember your grace. thank you for the blood of Christ which brings communion with you, gives me purpose in you, and fills me with your joy. thank you for the gift of repentance that restores me, and the comfort of grace that follows. my only hope is found in the grace of Christ. help me to believe.