10 Mar The Red Carpet
You’ve watched the Oscars, right? Then you’ve seen the lush red carpet that the stars walk on as they enter the theater. Rolling out the red carpet is a picture of the preparation that goes into treating someone like they are royalty. Repentance is the “red carpet” of reconciliation. That’s what happens when God calls us into relationship with him. He shows us that our sin caused the breaking of relationship. When God exposes our sinfulness, he graciously gives us the gift of “repentance”, so we can agree that only God can save us from the destruction of our sin. We surrender our hearts to Him, asking him to change us. His invitation opens the door to us tasting his forgiveness, and as we repent, the red carpet is laid out for us to enter the kingdom. Repentance is a changing of the mind that says I don’t want to live with “me” as the center of my universe anymore, so I am turning around and I am going to trust Jesus to direct my steps. With a change of thinking comes a change of heart. As reconciliation takes place, our hearts are again connected and relationship is built on holy ground. The red carpet is really holy, royal ground. See 2Samuel 11 & 12 so see David’s sin with Bathsheba, how Nathan confronted him, and in Psalm 51 how David repented.
Just as our relationship with God has been broken by our sin, so are our relationships with others broken by our sin. Through the power of the Spirit we can walk in humility and see how our sin breaks relationships and hearts. As we surrender the situation to God, he exposes our sin and calls us to the ministry of reconciliation. He calls us first to repent to him (Psalm 51), because in hurting another, we sin against the heart of God. Then we are called to humbly go to the person we have sinned against, and specifically confess our sin and ask for forgiveness.
The person who was hurt also needs the humility of the Spirit to be able to extend forgiveness. Romans 2:4 reminds us that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, so our kindness will open the door for someone who has hurt us to repent. As we humbly enter a conversation with someone who has hurt us, we are inviting him or her to taste forgiveness. As humble repentance is expressed, the red carpet is laid out to re-enter relationship. A change of mind and heart has been revealed and the holy ground of connection and relationship is re-entered. It is not easy, it often takes more than one conversation, and it calls for change over a long period. It takes preparation to start and time to develop the reconciliation process, and it is often costly. It starts on the red carpet. But the ability to walk again with someone you care for is worth the cost. Jesus thought so when it came to us!