The Problem with Reconciliation (Part Two) – Sermon Recap

The Ingredients of Reconciliation

The three essential ingredients for reconciliation are repentance, grace, and truth. Last week, we discussed that repentance involves a necessary turning. Grace requires giving something undeserved. Truth demands addressing the reality of the situation.

Defining Reconciled Truth

Reconciled truth is the painful acknowledgment of real events leading to a relationship breakdown. If we avoid discussing the issues that caused the rift, true reconciliation is impossible. Ignoring the truth sets up emotional barriers and prevents genuine healing and restoration.

The Necessity of Addressing Truth

Avoiding the truth in strained relationships results in superficial interactions. Authentic reconciliation requires courage to address the painful realities. Ignoring past wrongs only allows them to haunt us persistently, as illustrated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Bishop Desmond Tutu emphasized that facing the truth is essential to prevent the past from holding us hostage.

Reconciling Truth and Cancel Culture

Reconciling truth refuses to adopt cancel culture. Paul, in his letter to Philemon, acknowledges the complexities of individuals without labeling them as purely good or evil. He affirms Philemon’s good deeds and refers to Onesimus as his child, highlighting the nuanced nature of people. Understanding that we are all complicated helps us avoid the oversimplification of assigning blame and encourages us to consider reconciliation.

The Risks of Reconciled Truth

Paul took significant risks in advocating for Onesimus’s return to Philemon and urging Philemon to accept him as a brother. This demonstrates that pursuing reconciled truth can jeopardize relationships. It requires a willingness to face potential rejection and loss, much like the risks parents take when telling their children difficult truths for their growth.

The Importance of Relationship over Being Right

Reconciled truth values the relationship more than being right. Paul, despite his apostolic authority, chooses to appeal to Philemon based on love rather than command him. This approach prioritizes the relationship and seeks to win the person rather than the argument. Paul’s method of affirming the good before addressing the difficult and maintaining a connection exemplifies effective reconciliation.


Reconciled truth involves refusing cancel culture, taking risks, and prioritizing relationships over being right. While reconciliation is challenging, it is necessary for those who follow Jesus. Let us commit to the hard but vital work of reconciliation, guided by repentance, grace, and truth.

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