I have received many emails in the past month that deal with relating to each other after we have been hurt by one another. I want to explain our stance on this topic because in the past it has been abused to force people to try and relate to others in ways that seem Godly but are not actually genuine.
Bitterness is something that we have to continually deal with throughout the Christian life. Paul tells us in Romans 12:18 "that we aught to be Live in piece with each other as much as we are able." So, in other words, reconciliation with others is something that is necessary but there are times where relationships will never be what they once were. For example, if my wife had an affair on me with my best-friend, that man would never be my best friend again. However, as much as I am able to be reconciled to that person, I must pursue that for the glory of Jesus. The confusion with this probably has to do with our view on forgiveness. Often we view forgiveness as a feeling rather than a choice. Jesus models forgiveness for us as being a choice rather than a feeling. The gospel is Christ "choosing" to relate to others as if the offense of sin had not occurred. Relating to others as if they haven't offend us is not acting like we have fully forgotten the offensive. We will always remember when we have been sinned against, but we are called to relate to others in a way that shows we are pursing reconciliation as much as we are able.
One thought that has helped me in the past is remembering that after this life, there will be full reconciliation in heaven. Full reconciliation to God and each other. Until then we fight for as much reconciliation as possible here on earth and savor the day where full reconciliation will be granted to all of us as a gift. Oh, what a day that will be.