How Spiritual Restoration Affects Our Relationships With Others

When the Struggle is Real

Have you ever prayed for restoration in a relationship? Maybe it was because of friends or family members drifting apart. Or harsh words were said and unloving actions were taken. Maybe there have been unfulfilled expectations or hardened hearts. There are so many things that can make relationships with others challenging. Pride. Miscommunication. Lack of understanding. Difference in perspective. Broken Trust. The list goes on. As a team, we walk alongside students and families as they confront their own relational challenges either within their own family or with others. We see up close and personal how unresolved conflict or unhealthy patterns can affect the next generation. We believe that God wants to bring restoration into relationships and that healthy families make the community stronger. We continue to dig deeper into what spiritual restoration through Christ looks like and how it affects every part of our being and lives. This includes letting God work in all types of relationships we have with others - friends, parents, spouse/significant other, children, siblings, extended family, co-workers, neighbors, community members, etc. So how do we practically help others to seek restoration in their relationships and interact with others in a loving way? How do we each live this out in our own lives? We start by praying for God’s grace to open our hearts and the hearts of the families we serve so that we can know Him more. We go to the Word of God.  We seek His face. We pray: “Your kingdom come and your will be done.”We know that the only way that lasting healing and full restoration can take place is through the love of Jesus Christ.  This understanding is rooted in an active personal relationship with Creator God and a firm grasp on our Identity in Christ.  The more we realize that God desires a relationship with us, that our identity is in Him, and that He is a God who restores us, the more we can allow His Word to penetrate our hearts and direct our steps as we face our relationships with others.

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:32

What does God desire for our relationships?

God knew we would offend one another here on the earth and He knows how bad it hurts. He also knows how deep those wounds can cut. Despite the pain that relationships can cause, He calls us to treat others as we would have them treat us (Luke 6:31). God designed us to live in community with one another and with Him (Jeremiah 32:28). God set the bar high for us.  He calls us to love. He calls us to offer forgiveness. He calls us to ask for forgiveness when we've wronged someone. This is a love that He exemplified for us. He displayed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). All throughout the Old Testament God was calling His people to repent of their sinful ways and turn to Him. In the New Testament, as a once-and-for-all act of forgiveness, He sent His Son to walk among us and show us how to love, then Jesus was hung on a cross to pay the price for our sins. Jesus died a death that He didn’t deserve to die so that we could live a life we don’t deserve to live. Before Jesus left the earth to return to Heaven, He told us that He would send us the Holy Spirit to help us, to help us remember all that Christ taught us.  God calls us to a new way: To forgive those who have sinned against us, and then He equips us with the Holy Spirit because He knows that left to our own, it would be impossible for us.In his letter to the Galatians, Paul understood that He didn’t have it within himself to accomplish what God was asking of Him; Paul also understood that by dying to himself and living for Christ, He could.  Paul ended his days in prison, celebrating the spread of the good news of Jesus.

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

But what about when forgiveness is hard?  

Words were said. Trust was broken. Unresolved trauma. There are times when we must confront someone about a hurt they have caused in our life or need to ask for forgiveness for something we did.  Ask for God’s grace to navigate the situation. It's OK to express to God all that you're feeling- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Maybe you don't feel ready yet to offer forgiveness. We encourage you to seek God and leave your heart open to His ministering. Jesus knew that hurtful things would happen in this life on Earth. Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come" (Luke 17:1). He goes on to say in Luke 17:3-4, “If your brother or sister[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Jesus was very clear that it is not our responsibility to take revenge (Romans 12:19), that is His responsibility. Our responsibility is to forgive. He is also clear that we may be hurt again. And He says that if they ask for forgiveness, then we must forgive.  This can seem almost impossible if we forget Christ.

"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross." - Colossians 2:13-14

God took us at our worst, while we were still enemies of His, He forgave us all our sins, canceled our debt that had condemned us, and took it all away. He then sent us the Holy Spirit to empower us to do that which we cannot do on our own. He desires restoration between Himself and us. He wants us to know that our identity is grounded in Him. He desires that we have healthy relationships with those around us. He designed us for it. He will get the glory for it.

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:35

How can we pray for our relationships with others?

  • Pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding to infiltrate our hearts. That God would put peace in our hearts about forgiveness
  • Pray for grace and discernment. Sufficient grace for us to humbly approach the person who has committed an offense if it is necessary, and grace in their heart to humbly receive what we have to share.
  • Pray for the courage and humility to ask for forgiveness when we have wronged someone


Did you miss a post in this special blog series on Spiritual Restoration? Check them out by clicking on the links below.

1: Defining Spiritual Restoration (What is Spiritual Restoration?)

2: Our relationship with God (The Foundational Relationship)

3. Our relationship with Self (The Power of a New Identity)

→4. Our relationship with Others←

5. Our relationship with the rest of Creation

Other stories

Here are some of our other stories of change.