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Thoughts on Attempting Reconciliation

This past Sabbath here at Central, those in the congregation were called to follow the admonition of Christ to go to anyone with whom there had been a rift and make it right. Jesus was clear that as Christians we have a responsibility to forgive those who have wronged us (Matthew 6:14-15) and to make reconciliation with them (Matthew 5:23-24). Many folks stood to indicate that the Holy Spirit had brought someone to mind with whom they needed to make amends. In fact, to close the service there was prayer for courage, love, and tact for God’s leading in making full reconciliation in each case.

It was acknowledged in the sermon that forgiveness and reconciliation are not easy accomplishments. We all know that wishing not to offend or to avoid angering a person often causes us not to do what Jesus said we need to do. Most of us have at least some experience where speaking up didn’t get good results, maybe even more like a disaster. Yet Jesus said in Mathew 18:15 that we must do it to gain our brother or sister. There are eternal ramifications, and failure to even try could figuratively leave one’s blood on our hands if they end up lost (see Ezekiel 3:18-19). We have to care enough about the other person’s eternal well-being to take the risk. But, it’s easy to leave it alone, to not upset things, to stay in our comfort zone because, after all, “they won’t listen anyway,” or “I’m not good at this kind of thing,” or “they’ll just get mad at me.”

After church yesterday, several people approached me. Each one was struggling with what to do in a situation where reconciliation seemed very unlikely. Maybe the other person won’t even accept that he did anything wrong and will respond like “you’re judging me.” Maybe “the bitterness in my own heart will come out when I try to talk with this person and things will get worse instead of better.” Some felt rather stressed by this challenge. I shared some thoughts with these folks that I think merit sharing with everyone.

Just about everyone has someone with whom reconciliation is needed. However, every situation and every person is unique, therefore, how to make reconciliation can vary greatly from one situation to another. Prayer for wisdom from God and the leading of the Holy Spirit is essential. To be successful in any ministry of reconciliation requires us to be close to God, to be attuned to His still small voice. Some personalities are naturally more outspoken and/or bold, trusting to self. These people usually offend, and sometimes are not even aware that they have offended. 

Reconciliation requires distrust of self and full reliance upon God for what to say and how to go about it. It is also essential to pray that God will give us love for the other person. If they can sense that we love them (by our demeanor more so than by our words), they will be more likely to open up to reconciliation. It may take time and many prayers for God to get you ready before approaching the other person. The following quotation from Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, page 128-129 sets a clear goal for our prayer life before expecting success in attempting reconciliation. The goal is high, but we must reach it by the grace of God. We must move forward in the ministry of reconciliation. It does have eternal ramifications.

“Not until you feel that you could sacrifice your own self-dignity, and even lay down your life in order to save an erring brother...are [you] prepared to help your brother. Then you can approach him and touch his heart. No one has ever been reclaimed from a wrong position by censure and reproach; but many have thus been driven from Christ and led to seal their hearts against conviction. A tender spirit, a gentle, winning deportment, may save the erring and hide a multitude of sins. The revelation of Christ in your own character will have a transforming power upon all with whom you come in contact. Let Christ be daily made manifest in you, and He will reveal through you the creative energy of His word – a gentle, persuasive, yet mighty influence to re-create other souls in the beauty of the Lord our God.”

Fred Dana, Associate Pastor

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Primary Room Renovation has Begun!

Two days of work and we're well on our way to restoring our first Sabbath School classroom.

To support Operation Joash, click here: https://zqh.orf.mybluehost.me/saccentral/operation-joash/ 

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Volunteers Needed!

We're excited to be teaming up with Amen Ministries for a one-day free health clinic for Sacramento on September 24, 2017. We are needing volunteers who are willing and able-bodied. To register, please click here.

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Celebrate Our 130th Anniversary With Us!

One could say that Sacramento Central had its beginnings on November 5, 1881 when the first group of believers (16 in total) met for a Bible study in Sacramento. Eventually, on October 6, 1887 during a statewide camp meeting the Sacramento Seventh-day Adventist Church was formally organized; and that's just the beginning of the story... 

What: 130th Anniversary Celebration & Homecoming Event

When: Sabbath, September 30, 2017 - ALL DAY!

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Click on the Calendar to find out what else is happening at Central this month - from Sabbath speakers, to events, plus much, much more!

https://zqh.orf.mybluehost.me/saccentral/calendar/

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Watch Receiving the Word, our weekly televised program providing timely Bible messages for you and your family.

Receiving the Word can be viewed on our website, Sacramento Faith TV, and Firstlight Broadcasting NetworkCheck our website for viewing times.

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Central Happenings is published by the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 6045 Camellia Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95819 www.saccentral.org

Sacramento Central Staff: Chris Buttery, Senior Pastor; Mike Thompson, Associate; Fred Dana, Associate; Michael Butler, Youth/Young Adult; JeAnn Davis, Bible Instructor

Central Happenings: Chris Buttery, Editor; Chrystal White, Copy Editor/Distributor