I love how realistic the apostle Paul is. While teaching on sin, forgiveness, and reconciliation, he wrote, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). Paul is pushing us to do everything we can to reconcile with those who sin against us. But notice that phrase, “if it is possible.” Sometimes it isn’t possible, in this life, to fix what sin has broken.
Think of what infidelity might do to a marriage. Even Jesus recognized that the damage could lead to divorce (Matthew 5:32). Or think of what gossip might do to a friendship. Solomon knew such sins might separate close friends who are no longer eager to share their deepest struggles and secrets (Proverbs 16:28).
That’s important to know. While we strive to forgive everyone who sins against us (Luke 11:4), it might not be possible to reconcile every relationship. That doesn’t mean we’re bitter or vengeful. It simply recognizes there are other factors involved. It’s like a runner after a car accident. She might not be able to sprint like before, despite the work of rehab.
Thankfully, however, Jesus’ forgiveness is perfect. Because of the cross, living at peace with God is always possible, no matter how ugly the sin or long-lasting the consequences. While we might struggle to trust the people who’ve hurt us, we can always trust that Jesus has helped us, giving us a perfect relationship with our Father. No distance. No separation. Just God with us until the day we see him face-to-face.