"He must remain in heaven until the time of the final restoration of all things." Acts 3:21...."When your focus is a restoration of all things, you align yourself with the heart of God." Chris Tiegreen
In one of his devotional writings, Chris Tiegreen asks that we consider all the "broken walls" in our lives and relationships. That's quite a challenge, especially so when that question is broadened and brought into the corporate life of the church. I think every true pastor with a shepherd's heart will agree that nothing so grieves us as when a member of the fellowship leaves in disagreement, anger, or pride. I say this without trying to place all the responsibility upon the one leaving. Churches and pastors can bear just as much, sometimes more, responsibility than the one, ones, leaving. Yet the bottom line regardless of who is most responsible is that a "wall" has been broken down. Not a wall that was meant to divide, but one meant to protect, nurture, and grow those who lived within it. A breach has occurred, and what comes through that breach is rarely something good. One of the greatest tragedies within the Body of Christ is that what is meant to be a living example of restoration and reconciliation is more often an example of division, separation, and isolation. The enemy and the world strike at the reputation of the Father through the failures of His people. Nowhere more so than in our failure to love, forgive, and be reconciled.
It's to our shame that the people of God seem no more able to to live in peace with one another than does the world. The proof is in our divorce rates, our church splits, and the trail of broken relationships that we leave behind. Most often, what is at root are pride and a determination to have our way, to be in control, even at the greatest of costs. And we wonder why a watching world has little interest in becoming a part of it all.
What would happen if we really began to align our hearts with that of the Great Restorer? What if restoration and reconciliation actually became our deepest desire. We say we want people to come to Christ, but there are so many that we're not interested in coming to Him with. Something I like to do from time to time is visit another pastor's fellowship on Sunday morning, since ours meets on Saturday nights. On one such visit I saw a brother who'd recently left a church he'd been a central part of for many years. What I saw in his eyes was a deep sadness, and a great sense of loss. The question is not who was at fault. The question is, how could such a place be reached when the healing power of the King is so available to us all? There are times when the Father leads both pastors and people out of a fellowship for a new post and place in the Kingdom. Sadly, more often, they leave in anger, or are pushed out in anger. And little if any attempt is made for, or are they open to, restoration and reconciliation. And His heart grieves over all of it.
Acts 3:21 says He will, in the end, restore all things. I rejoice as I look forward to that day. Yet, can it not be that He would restore so many things right now.....if we would have it? If we'd lay down our pride, surrender our bitterness and unforgiveness, and come to Him....together...and be restored and healed. That's what He is about. Isn't it time for us to be about it as well?