Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Knowing God

For the past few weeks, I have purposefully been studying various Bible passages that have always perplexed me with the hope of gleaning new understanding regarding their meanings.  At some point during my reading, I pray for God's wisdom and clarity about the particular passage, acknowledging to Him my intellectual frailties to fully "get" what He wants me to hear from it on my own.  It is also a concern to me that in my human understanding I could also make incorrect interpretations from the passage.  But God knows our weaknesses, and we just have to trust that He desires to show His truths to us when we are honestly seeking them with no other motive than a quest for His truths and purposes.   

It is also very crucial to remember that though God desires for us to get to know Him better each day and to know Him as well as we can, we can never fully know the mind of God (or we'd become God).  The idea, attitude, or desire to become God is obviously sinful.  This is the original sin--Eve wanted to know everything God knew and have her "eyes opened," and the serpent lured her to believe she would (Genesis 3:4-5, "'You will not certainly die,' the serpent said to the woman. 'For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'").  So we have to balance our desire to know God and to fully understand His Word and truths with the humility that we can obviously never fully ascertain all of God's wisdom.  If we think we "arrive" at knowing the entire Bible and, "getting it," we fool ourselves and we mock God.

Years ago I had an uncomfortable yet interesting discussion with a nonbeliever about the existence of God.  This person was determined to convince me that since I couldn't understand or know everything about the beginning of the earth and the creation of man, or how the timing of the dinosaurs fits with God's supposed timing of creation, that I couldn't be certain of the existence of God.  She said, "There are just too many things in the Bible that don't add-up with the timeline of what man says happened."  It occurred to me that I would never convince her of God's existence because she had to "know" it all (which, newsflash, will never happen for her, me, or anyone--again, if I knew the mind of God, I'd be God)!  It also occurred to me that she was basing her questions of God's existence on God's Word versus man's word--that is a slippery slope for sure.  She is choosing to place more faith in flawed humans than in the God Who gave her life.   I would liken this to me stating my birth date to her and then someone else giving a different date for it than the one I declared.  Would she trust that I'm telling the truth or believe the other person who is giving second-hand information?  It follows here:  Who are you going to believe and place your trust?  What God says or what man says?  My experience with God is that He has never lied to me and He is perfect.  Yes, bad things happen here on this sinful planet where God is temporarily giving the enemy some power and control (and giving US some power and control).  Therefore, imperfection is what we now have.  But this isn't God's choice and it wasn't His doing.  God is perfect.  People lie, are sinful, and flawed.  So I choose to believe in God.  I've heard and quoted it before:  I'd need more faith to be an atheist

I have thought about our conversation many times, and it has occurred to me that I do not understand why we think we need and have to know everything about God and life in order to believe in Him, know Him, or trust Him.  I have lived with my husband, Matt, for over 25 years now, and I still don't always "get" or understand him.  I do not even pretend to think I know every detail of Matt's life:  his thoughts at each moment, his feelings, every detail of his past, or his experiences.  To this day I can still learn things from Matt and hear stories of his life that I've never heard prior.  If I can say that is true for another flawed human being with whom I've been friends since I was nine years old, then it stands to reason that it should be infinitely truer of the perfect God of the Universe with Whom I've never physically shared a house!  We can't even begin to fully know each other in the short time on earth that we have as humans, so why do we lay claim that we must know and understand every detail of God in order to believe in His existence?  It is nonsense.  1 Corinthians 2:11 comes to mind, "For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."  It boils down to a personal choice:   Either you believe in God or you don't.  You cannot base that belief on whether you "get" everything about God and life or not, because you honestly don't know every detail about the people you see every day in whom you clearly believe.  Faith is believing in things you cannot see.  You either have it or you don't.

Though we cannot know and understand God, He desires our effort at it.  Just as in our close relationships with other humans, God wants us to get to know Him and spend time with Him.  He doesn't just want our tradition, rituals, or religion.  I would liken religious practices to being a "dutiful" spouse--your heart really isn't in it, but you're going through the motions all the same.  God doesn't want "duty."  He wants your heart, your soul, your mind, and your love.  He wants you to give Him some time and thought.  He loved you enough to come in the form of a baby and allow Himself to be beaten, mocked, spit-on, ridiculed, whipped, thrashed, and nailed to a cross just to show you He is real and He loves you.  If God's Word wasn't real, it would have long been forgotten.  But instead, we are keeping the calendar by it.  And our Timekeeper desires to forgive you for the original sin that we all inherited (and if you think you didn't, look at your past honestly--have you done each and every thing in your life perfectly?).  But you have to want Him and you have to trust Him for that forgiveness.  You have to muster up the faith and choose to believe that this man, Jesus, by Whose life we are counting time, was real.  No one ever found His body.  No one.  And boy, have they tried.  This is what Easter is all about.  It isn't about duty.  It isn't about religious tradition.  It sure isn't about some ridiculous bunny, candy, colored eggs and plastic grass (is there another more loathsome product on the market? I despise that shredded, vacuum-clogging nightmare)!  Easter is about Jesus.  It is about hope.  It is about Christ's victory over our sin and consequential death.  It is about Jesus coming for you, in full sacrifice and payment for your sin, because He loves you.  It is about His resurrection and in it, His defeat of sin and satan.  It is a day of supreme rejoicing!

When sin occurred in the garden, a sacrifice was required.  That's God's character.  If it wasn't His character, there would be no consequence for any sin.  You may think you would prefer that, but let someone murder your spouse, child, or loved one, and you'll think otherwise.  God is fair and just.  But He is also merciful and loving.  God could have been so mad at Adam and Eve that He could have just said, "Okay.  You two blew it.  Henceforth, you are dead to me--eternally. There will be no heaven.  You trusted in satan (purposed lack of capitalization), and now you can just die and go live with him."  But He instead gave them the option to believe in Him, admit their wrong, and spend eternity with Him in heaven.  He gives us all this option.  It is your option.  I once heard someone say that they don't understand why God would put the tree of life in the garden if it was going to bear fruit He never wanted Adam and Eve to eat.  They asked, "Was He trying to trick them into sinning?"  God forbid.  I believe God put that tree there to give them something pretty important in this entire love story--free will.  Otherwise, they would have just been pawns in His game.  Their love for Him would never have been tested or have been their choice.  God knew this.  He wanted them to choose Him for Him.  And we all still have that choice:  we can eat the enemy's fruit and lies, or seek after God.  It is your choice.  And you will have to face it one day whether you want to or not.  We all will.  Death, taxes, and trusting in God...

I heard a new song the other day by an indie-rock gal of whom I am growing quite fond--Regina Spektor.  The song is entitled, "Laughing With," and can be viewed here:  Some of her words are sung quickly, so if you're really curious, check out the lyrics here:  It is a truly great song--honest through and through.  It goes quite well with this blog post, and I pray you'll give it a listen.

I would encourage you this weekend to attend a Good Friday and Easter service.  Not out of duty.  Not with an attitude of, "religious tradition."  But because you want to know God and you want to worship Him with all your heart--and you aren't willing to wait to address Him until you're on your deathbed.  That's really all He wants.  He doesn't expect you to "get" it all, or to fully understand Him or His ways.  He just wants you to try.  He just wants your genuine love and gratitude for what He came to do for you.  Happy Easter, friends, and may God bless you all in the knowledge of Him!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Finding Mr. Right

After talking with a young lady recently regarding the relationship issues she is having with her current boyfriend (and I say that term in the loosest sense of the word), I am compelled to write this blog post.  It is my strong desire and prayer that anyone who reads this will walk away from it feeling free, empowered, and content in whatever relationship situation they currently find themselves.  

From the time we are little girls, we are told as women that we need a man.  We are inundated with those underlying messages via all media outlets and even our young friends at a very early age.  I recall being told in Kindergarten by a girlfriend that I needed to pick out a boyfriend from the pool of boys in our class, and she clearly pointed out who was "off limits" to me since she had dibs on them.  Five years old and I'm being told that I need a boyfriend.  Ay, yai, yai.

In high school, I recall that anytime I didn't have a boyfriend, everyone was constantly trying to fix me up with one.  I, in turn, would torture my own friends in the same way.  Sadly, this behavior was "normal." Being older and hopefully wiser now, I am convinced that this mentality was extremely detrimental to us as young women.  Our focus was so out-of-line and sure didn't do us any favors.  Instead of honing our time and energies on school, real friendships, and growing into the women we needed to become, we wasted an immense amount of time thinking our value was based on who we dated (or the lack thereof).  Instead of being more concerned with coming to know Christ and gleaning true wisdom and help with our ever-shifting identities, we allowed ourselves to succumb to societal pressures and the world's ideas about what a woman's purpose is.  If guys weren't interested, there must be something wrong with us.  What a joke.

You hear people say that they wish they could go back to their teen years with the adult wisdom and experience they have now and do it much differently.  I would agree that though futile, I have thought this many times.  High school and college can be pretty rough though--it is easy to talk big when you aren't truly facing the same pressures and uncertainties.  But if I could go back with my current experiences and wisdom, I'd like to think I would do many things differently.  There is a famous quote that says, "Smart people learn from their own mistakes.  Wise people learn from the mistakes of others."  In an honest effort to perhaps help some young girl out there who is in her quest for, "Mr. Right," or perhaps even to encourage an older woman who is starting over in life and unsure of what exactly is in store for her relationally-speaking, I want to share the things I have hopefully learned from my own mistakes, as well as, in all my dealings with mentoring women, counseling young girls, and in reading numerous books on dating and marriage.  I write this blog with much fear and trepidation because even I know that in life there are many uncertainties. God very well could give me an opportunity to use what I'm preaching.  There are no guarantees that my husband will always be faithful or living until the day I go home to be with my Lord.  So perhaps even I will need to read this blog post again one day to remind myself of the things God has told me over the years on this subject.   Here goes, in no particular order (and please, this is not suited or appropriate for young women under 13 years of age):

1.  If you don't have a walk with God through Christ and what He did for you on the cross, strive to find that truth for yourself.  You cannot fully know, understand, or appreciate who you really are or what your real value is until you understand that.  Date God.  He shows up on time, is polite, is a total gentleman, won't use you for sex, and knows you better than you know yourself already.  He always listens, always encourages, and loved you first.

2.  Hang around other women who make you feel good about you and who love you just as you are--you deserve it and you ARE worth this.  If they are constantly badgering you to, "find a man," they aren't your friend.  If they make you feel like your life has to be a carbon copy of theirs, RUN.  Nothing will put you in bondage to incorrect living quicker than being bombarded constantly by people who want to run your life for their own purposes.  Your life is as unique as you are---God made you differently and He gave you different stuff in life to handle and manage.  Be okay with it and spend time with others who are also "okay" with these truths. The last thing you need in your quest for God's will in your life is someone else telling you what they think you need.  God's voice gets trumped enough in the noise of our busy lives.

3.  Get to know you.  What do you enjoy?  What are you good at doing?  What excites you and makes your heart sing?  About what are you passionate?  Take time to get to know yourself through God's eyes, as well as your own.  This will only make you a better, more ready person for whomever God brings, if He chooses to do so.  Become the person you want to find in a companion.  What does God truly want for your life?  Is a man even a part of that plan?  What kind of man will fit that plan and those desires of your heart?  There were many women in the Bible who are used as an example for model-living in Christ who never had a man.  Do not feel pressured that your life is empty and void if you aren't serving a man.  Serve Christ--He is your first husband and always will be.  He is a faithful One and you can always count on that.

4.  Pray constantly about this matter of, "finding a companion," but ultimately for contentment to just serve Christ and enjoy your life to the fullest for as long as it takes.  Let GOD bring the man HE desires for you, when and if He desires it.  When we push, strain, and strive for things in life, whether it be relationally or otherwise, they tend to disappoint.  When we, "let go and let God" so to speak, it is then that God is given control and tends to move on our behalf in ways that astonish us in utter gratitude.  He goes far beyond our expectations when we give Him utter control.  Don't bend rules, push lines, or overlook things that you know aren't exactly in-line with what God wants for your life just to get what you want.  You'll end up with something that looks nothing like what you initially wanted--and probably with a great deal of hurt, as well.

5.  Make a prayerful list of what you want in a man--and here's the hard part:  stick to it with a vengeance.  Do not bend or think that anything God laid on your heart to put on that list is at any point unnecessary or invalid.  Again, do not bend for anyone.  Of course, I am not talking about silly things like, "I want my future husband to be a good dancer."  I am talking about big stuff--Godly stuff.  Stuff like, "I want my future husband to be honest, to handle money properly, and be God-fearing."  Do not bend on the big, prayerful, "deal-breaker" items on that list.  God can do it.  He doesn't belong in a box.  He is a miracle-worker and He wants nothing more than to lavish His perfect will on patient, worthy recipients who endured, prayed fervently, and looked to HIM for their purpose and meaning in life.  He loves us far more than any person on the planet.  So it follows then that He can be trusted and He can give you His perfect will for your life.  If He can create the universe in 6 days, He can be trusted to take care of your deal-breakers.  Never stop praying and if God sends someone to court or date you, keep praying the entire time for red flags and closed doors if it isn't His will.  He will show you the way if you're truly serious about looking and following His guidance.  He knows our hearts and our heart's desires.  If you're praying all the right things, but deep down you're doing it YOUR way, He knows this, too.  You can fool everyone--even yourself.  But we never fool God.  Seek Him with all your heart on this matter.  It has been quoted and researched by many Christian marriage counselors (and others) that women get upwards of 90% of their identities from their fathers, and then 90% of their happiness from their husbands.  Who we marry is a huge life-decision and choice--it literally can make or break us.  So choose wisely, carefully, and prayerfully.

6.  If a guy gives you ultimatums on any level, run like the wind.  Any man who tells you that you would, "do this [whatever "this" may be] if you loved me," can move on down the road.  If he truly loves you, he won't want anything from you but your committed love according to God's laid out plan for courtship and marriage.  He will treat you like a goddess and will love you so much he won't want to hurt you or any part of the relationship.  If a man honestly loves you, he won't make you bend your rules because he will be smart enough to know that you are a prize to be had.  If a guy is pressuring you to have sex or move-in together so he can, "try you [or the relationship] on for size," tell him that you are a human being and this is not a car dealership.  There are plenty of used cars out there that he can go test drive (he probably needs to be pushed back into his proper league--did I say that out loud?)!  You are a person and don't need test drove.  Dating is to be looked upon as courtship for marriage.  Anyone who tells you, "Let's just have fun and see where it goes," probably isn't seriously looking for a long term commitment and they may end up breaking your heart.  Better to be safe than sorry.  If the guy can't tell you on date #2 or 3 that he is looking for a lifelong partner, RUN.  He is probably up to no good and your heart is not even on his radar (he actually may not even have one himself)!

7.  If you EVER, even ONCE, have to ask yourself whether the guy truly loves you, RUN.  Any woman who is honest with herself knows the answer to that question.  When a man truly, fully loves you, he would lay down in traffic for you and buy you the world.  Your past, your present, and your future don't really matter to him.  He just wants you.  We all know this, but somehow at times there is a disconnect for us as women with this truth.  Don't fall prey to the games by the "players" in the world who seek to convince you that YOU owe THEM something, and that YOU should be glad to be with THEM.  Men who are worth giving yourself and your life (because who are we kidding--as women, we take care of them forever), act utterly honored to be in your company.  Anyone who doesn't is no one you're going to want to share a bed with for 50 years, clean their toilet, and do their laundry.  Get real, girls.  Yes, the "players" have great curb appeal.  They're charming, handsome, typically talented, and maybe even remotely intelligent (obviously, if they get us to thinking they are worth all the trouble we go to just to please them).  But walk inside the front door to their hearts and lives, and buckle-up.  The needed renovations are more than you have time, energy, and money to handle.  Their love is superficial, selfish, and conditional.  You don't need any of it and your heart won't be able to keep up with their nonsense.

8.  If a guy doesn't know God or have a steady relationship and walk with God, RUN.  Nothing more needed here.  (This probably should have been #2 on the list)!

9.  If sappy chick songs and movies make you desire the love of a man more than you typically do, don't watch them or listen to them.  As girls, we already have enough of these needy emotions.  Don't add to it.  You might as well go buy a gun and shoot yourself in the foot--you're essentially placing yourself in harm's way by arousing feelings that could get you to bend your rules.  Don't be naive--even the subtleties in life can sway us.  No one is immune to frailty.  Listen to music and watch things that make you feel like an empowered, God-fearing, God-trusting woman--because that is who you actually need to be and who you were designed to be.

10.  Court, date, and marry a man who makes you feel like a queen, but who you know your love and passion would be so stirred that you'd feel like a "girl for hire" in the bedroom.  That is pretty forward, candidly brazen, and perhaps even crudely stated.  But ladies, our desire for our husbands ebbs and flows throughout life's different stages and seasons.  The child-bearing years can be horrendous--we are so exhausted at day's end that the only thought we have is, "Give me sleep!"  Therefore, if you don't have the serious "hots" for the guy, RUN.  Sometimes "hot" is all you got.  "Hot" can be all that is holding your marriage together at times, and you're going to need it.  Marriage is tough.  If while dating him, you don't pine or croon much for the guy, and you never have to pray to God for self-control or for your thought-life about him, you probably don't have the hots for him.  Better to find someone about whom you DO feel that way.  This needs to be on your prayer list and it is a deal-breaker.  Do not feel superficial for this.  God intended marriage and sex for pleasure--not just companionship, duty, and child-rearing.  Anyone who tells you differently or gives you the whole, "that kind of love will grow in time" bit, is a liar or they've fooled themselves into that marital martyrdom and now want to hold you captive to it, too.  Don't overlook the "hot" factor because the guy is a good Christian, kind, funny, or rich.  They may make a great dad and provider, but if you don't want to seriously suck their face off, you have no business dating or marrying them.  If there's little to no chemistry, you're going to eventually want to shove his money, his theology, his etiquette, and his jokes down his throat.  Every woman I know who has "settled," is in a loveless marriage today and feels in total bondage to it.  They are miserable, lifeless, and dead.  Society makes "hot" seem superficial and dirty.  But God actually created it first, and He meant it for good.  He made Eve look pretty darn good to Adam--that was the very first "hot" factor.  If we handle it properly and do things His way, "hot" blesses your marriage beyond your wildest dreams.  And you don't need a stupid "test drive" to know that.  God promises it in Solomon and He always keeps His promises.

I want to close this overly-lengthy post by saying to you from the bottom of my very heart:  Sister, you are worth it.  You are worth your fairy tale.  God wants it for you.  He wants to be your Knight-in-Shining-Armor, first and foremost.  He is all you need anyway, so you can properly view your, "Mr. Right" quest, as icing on the cake of your life.  Finding a man isn't the cake.  The life you have in Christ is your cake.  And you can have your cake and eat it, too, when you follow Him and give Him all control.  No games, no lies, no finesse, no guile.  God is real, He is yours, and He is there--always.  He can be trusted and He'll never leave you.  He will never use you, lie to you, or break your heart.  You aren't incomplete--you are already whole in Him.  There is nothing wrong with you because no one "cute" is interested.  The cute guys can be mostly jerks, and that isn't me wooing a female audience with fake stats. Studies show that the hunks aren't always very bright or emotionally adept, and if anyone has a problem with that they can take it up with research (or better yet, work to prove it wrong)!  Studies also show that, "players" (as they are frequently called today), typically have so much relational baggage (i.e., "pasts"--you know, all those other "cars" they thought they had to test drive), that you'll be dragging around more gawky, heavy luggage than you ever wanted (and it's luggage you never purchased on sale at Macy's)!  So don't waste your time on the pointless thought that there is something wrong with you, even though the "players" typically have this sly way of making it seem this is the issue.  Actually, if you aren't attracting handsome jerks or they are leaving you, you're doing everything right!  You deserve someone who doesn't have so many knots in his rope that you'll never undo them all.  You are worthy of someone cute though, and God can bring one that is also Godly, kind-hearted, and good to you.  He did this for me and then some--and I am eternally grateful.  God, your Father, wants your love and passion awakened by a deserving man who doesn't use and abuse it, but instead heightens it safely and richly in order to bless your life.  You are valuable, you are lovely, and you are worthy of a happy life--with or without a man.  Life is good either way because we already serve an amazing Man, ladies--and His name is, Jesus Christ.  Give Him your heart first and let Him take care of the rest.  May God bless you all richly and abundantly!  Joy to you!

Isaiah 54:5, "For your Maker is your Husband, the Lord of Hosts is His name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called."

Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Irreconcilable Differences

In previous blog posts, I have written extensively on forgiveness and reconciliation.  If you have lived long enough, you know how difficult it can be to forgive others for offenses that have deeply hurt you.  You also know personally that reconciliation is not always possible, even when forgiveness is commanded of us as believers (and best for us).  I have thought a great deal recently about the notion of, "reconciliation," after having trod through a broken friendship myself.  As God desires, we are to seek out the lesson(s) He has for us in the trials we endure.  That is a hard thing to do when you are walking through a painful experience or a difficult time in life.  The last thing you feel like doing at that moment is learning a lesson.  But nonetheless, I have learned some interesting things about forgiveness, reconciliation, and irreconcilable differences over the past couple of years. 

The word, "irreconcilable," has an interesting definition.  The Google definition of it in its noun form is, "Any of two or more ideas, facts, or statements that are incompatible."  In its adjective form it means, "So different from each other that they are incompatible."  Clearly, the word has to do with two opposing opinions, beliefs, or thoughts that are not meshing well.  This got me thinking--when two people disagree about something, and their beliefs about the issue or situation totally clash, does it necessarily mean that one person is right and the other is wrong?  I have come to realize that it does not.  It has become very apparent to me that two people can view something completely differently and both are right.  Therein is where the real problem lies. 

When two people have an "issue," and they cannot see or understand the alternative perspective, this is when the situation becomes, "irreconcilable."  Do not misunderstand me--I do believe there are times when one person is clearly more "right" than the other.  In some areas of, "irreconcilable differences," the issue at hand is blatantly polarizing due to an obvious foul (for example: marital infidelity).  But there are many more times in life, whether it be with our spouse or others, where irreconcilable differences really don't need to be irreconcilable.  People can and should be able to agree to disagree--or at least, see the others viewpoint and be selfless enough to understand it and move past it.  I fully believe that two people can walk through the exact same scenario in life and walk away with a totally different experience or belief from it.  Does that make one of them a liar?  God forbid.  

We are all different creatures and we perceive, feel, and react totally differently than each other on pretty much every level and in pretty much every situation.  We are not cookie-cutter creations from a boring and unoriginal Maker.  God, the Father of the Universe and everything in it, is far from trite.  He blows my mind on a daily basis just by allowing the sun to rise upon us each morning without fail.  You may think I'm being overly dramatic proclaiming that cliche` as if I'm so original.  But I guarantee you if the sun never came up again, you would miss it.  I know I would!  In His genius, creativity, and originality, God made us all quite unique.  I happen to believe that one big reason He did that was so we could learn to appreciate those differences, and so we would sharpen one another and fill-in the weak areas in each other with the strengths we happen to possess.  I also think God made us all so differently so that we would each have distinct passions, abilities, and interests, and by that, the needs of culture and life would be adequately covered. God is a God of order and purpose.  He doesn't make mistakes.

Do not misunderstand me and think I am condoning sin or sinful lifestyles.  I am talking about differences that make us special and unique, not "wrong."  But instead of viewing our differences as good, we tend to be greatly annoyed by them.  I hear it all the time--people complaining about others who are choosing to do something differently than they would.  Or people griping because they don't "get" why someone chooses to live the way they do or why they behave as they do.  I have committed this sin at times myself.  But overall, I try to live by the attitude of, "live and let live."  It isn't my job to play the Holy Spirit in any one's life, and thank goodness because I'm not up for the task (nor am I remotely qualified)!  It would also be piously prideful of me to look down on others due to their personalities or lives when God says He created us all in His image.  Every person I meet each day has been designed by God in His image.  When I insult or smugly look down upon another human being, I am mocking and insulting God.  Every person I meet has been dealt a different hand of cards than I have.  They have had totally different experiences than I have had.  They have completely unique weaknesses, battles, sins and struggles in their life.  When we view others like this and through the lens of God, suddenly we become much less concerned with the differences and much more focused on just loving people. 

But when two people face major differences in certain situations, those differences can be so glaring that reconciliation becomes a pipe-dream.   If those involved totally disagree and cannot even reach a reasonable understanding, and/or when trust, decency, and respect have been revoked, reconciliation is just not possible.  If both parties are actually right in their viewpoints, and their immovable perception of what has happened is their honest, believed perception, it makes reconciliation pretty tough.  It essentially becomes a stand-off.  The only way reconciliation can happen is if at least one person is willing to utterly bend and give to the other by ignoring their own perspective in the issue, perhaps even to the point of self-defamation.  God tested me to see if I was willing to give of myself to that level.  I was.  I did.  I tried.  And guess what:  reconciliation still didn't happen.  Sometimes God tests us to the absolute ultimate level with forgiveness and reconciliation.  But if the other person is not only unwilling to see your side and to attempt understanding it, but they are also unwilling to, "agree to disagree" if they cannot understand, there is nothing you can do.  At least you have the freedom knowing you did all you could do in the matter--and there is great freedom in that.

Why is it so hard for us to be willing to, "agree to disagree" with others?  Why is it so tasking to simply understand that we all see things differently in life?  Instead, we have to be right and we have to win.  We typically seek to cover our own faces, dodge our dealings in the matter, and delve-out blame.  But true reconciliation takes two people.  Otherwise, what you get is an endless game of tug-of-war or you end-up with one person leashed like a dog to the other.  Either way, there's a rope involved--and it isn't good.  Last time I checked, I was not a dog, and I stunk at tug-of-war (wimpy arms).  

We are called to be at peace and in reconciliation with others to the best of our ability.  There are those with whom we are called to make an extra effort in this area--i.e. our spouse, our kids, our families, and fellow believers in Christ.  But sometimes, God says, "Let go and move on."  We are not to be leashing ourselves like dogs to anyone for senseless purposes.  God did not create us to be doormats to everyone for everything.  We cannot be in full reconciliation to those who are not in the body of Christ anyway--there are already huge belief differences present there.  We are called to serve others with purpose and for the ministry of Christ.  But if our humble servitude to someone or the particular relationship in which we find ourselves is no longer falling into healthy realms with meaning, purpose, and encouragement for us, we need to move ahead and move past it.  I was created in the image of a great God.  I am no one's dog.  He is my Father and ultimately the only One to Whom I need to reconcile myself daily, eternally, and at all cost.  He will never falter or fail me.  There will never be irreconcilable differences with Him.  Praise be to God.

Scriptures on this topic:

Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." 

2 Corinthians 5:18, "All this is from God, Who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation."

Romans 5:10, "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life."

Matthew 5:23-24, "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."

Matthew 18:15-17, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

Hebrews 12:14, "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."

1 Corinthians 7:15, "But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace."

Luke 17:3, "Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him." 

Matthew 5:31-32, "“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

Galatians 6:10, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

1 Peter 4:8, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."