"...we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." - Romans 5: 11
As I prepare my heart for Good Friday and Easter, I am compelled to meditate on all things reconciliation. The Passover Seder, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter is really all about Reconciliation. That God, out of his great mercy, decided to reconcile sinners back to himself.
This is about forgiveness. And that should move us to gratitude, continual repentance and it should naturally move us to reconcile and forgive our fellow brothers/sisters. Therefore, below, I jotted down some practical insights and ways to go about creating a framework for reconciliation in our lives. Enjoy.
Practicing the Art of Reconciliation
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” - 2 Corinthians 5: 18-19
As Christians we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. It may help to discuss what reconciliation looks like in order to attempt them ourselves. Below are some reflections on how Christ, our framework for reconciliation, reconciled us to the Father.
The Offended One Went to Heal the Offender
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5: 7-8
God takes it another level. He’s the offended one, the one who is hurt, the one who is mistreated. But he goes to make things right, offer healing, so that we’ll not only stop hurting him but stop hurting ourselves. This is love.
Proactive and Missional
“... While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
He didn’t wait for us. He set aside pride because his desire for our healing was greater than keeping his position of being “right”. He initiated the talk, he came to us even when we didn’t want to “talk” about it.
Humility | Giving Up the Right to Your Rights
“Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” - Philippians 2: 3b-8
Simply put - Jesus, God Himself, humbled himself and gave up his “rights”.
“Unless we belong to a community where we are able to tell one another the truth through the practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, we are condemned to live in a world of violence and destruction." - Stanley Hauerwas
Cared Enough to Try
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” - 1 John 4: 10-11
God cared and loved us so much that he took a risk in sending his Son for us. It was not a guaranteed effort. We still have free will and we can still reject him, but reconciliation was worth the risk. (Risk is spelled - FAITH).
You were Good, Worth Pursuing and Worth Reconciling
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” - Genesis 1: 26, 27, 31
Many of us have been taught that we are worthless, depraved sinners. But at the heart of Peacemaking, is the unveiling of divine value in the Other. Each person we are trying to reconcile with is valuable and worth something in God's eyes. Although corrupted and fallen, mankind was originally good, not originally bad. We fell, yes, but before we fell, God called man "good". So never forget that in order to reconcile with someone you must see past their corrupted nature, their failures or mistakes, and see them worthy of reconnecting with.
- Pray for a heart like Jesus, a heart willing to forgive others.
- Seek to be proactive about reconnecting and reconciling.
- Set aside your pride, entitlements and nurture humility in your heart and mind.
- Care about the friendship, relationship, to seek reconciliation.
- Have faith enough to risk an attempt to reconnect, be bold enough to offer your hand.
- View people through the Lens of Redemption, that people, even the ones that hurt you are truly valuable and “good” in God’s eyes. They are worth reconnecting with.