Reconciliation is a sensitive subject. Depending on who you ask, you are bound to get different answers and no matter how advanced society claims to get, truth still matters. There can only be one truth and that is found in the bible. When we distort truth and create our own, that is idolatry. This is a sin and breaks the first 2 of the 10 commandments. Our beliefs ought to align with what the bible says and not the other way around.
Over the past few months I have increasingly seen online greater idolatry and greater burning of bridges. This is concerning because it has great implications on society which I would like to explore. To clarify, I am specifically speaking to Christians. While this message is important for everyone, I believe it is particularly necessary for professing believers.
As Christians, the bible teaches that we are not just forgiven from our sins, but we are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). Whilst fruit is not the foundation of our faith, it is most definitely the result of our faith (Matthew 12:33-35, John 15:1-8). One of the fruits of being a Christian is reconciliation. It is the ministry in which we have been called to by Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Therefore, the question is, what is reconciliation?
William J. Woodruff defines reconciliation as “a change in relationship between God and man or man and man. It assumes there has been a breakdown in the relationship, but now there has been a change from a state of enmity and fragmentation to one of harmony and fellowship”. Breakdown in relationships happen as a result of the sinfulness of man. So how do we resolve this, biblically?
Firstly, we must identify the greatest broken relationship and that is between God and man. Adam and Eve sinned (broke God’s law) in the garden and thus sin entered the world. As a result of their sin (and our sin) there is enmity between God and man. God is holy and cannot behold iniquity. After God places a curse on mankind and the rest of creation we see our federal heads, Adam and Eve, driven out of the garden, further signifying the distance between God and man (Genesis 3).
Throughout scripture we see God enacting his predestined plan of salvation, that is culminated in the new testament by the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a result of God’s wrath being satisfied through the sacrifice of Jesus, we are brought near to God (Ephesians 2:13). This act of reconciliation displays that God is merciful.
Now that we have been reconciled unto God through Christ, we have been called into the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Now that we have been reconciled unto God through Christ, we have been called into the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). We no longer live for ourselves but for Christ who died for our sake because God’s love now controls us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). We are now ambassadors of Christ and God is making His appeal to the world through us (2 Corinthians 5:20). So, the intensity in which we take this charge given to us by Jesus as eternal ramifications.
The way we relate to people can be indicative of the way we relate to God. 1 John 3:14 says “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death”.
People will let us down and there will be situations in which we do not want to reconcile. However, our love for people doesn’t start from what we can conjure up from the inside of us. The love that has been deposited into our hearts by the Holy Spirit upon regeneration is the same love in which the God the Father loves God the Son (John 15:9, John 17:23, Romans 5:5). How we respond to pain, especially caused by a brother or sister in Christ, should be rooted in the gospel, not how we feel. Reconciliation is important because it points to the gospel.
We can reconcile with our friends or foes that God will never let any sin slide. Vengeance is the Lord’s, He will repay (Romans 12:19) and He will do so justly.
Reconciliation is a command. God doesn’t give suggestions, ever. Don’t reduce reconciliation to a convenient idea. It is the very result of the gospel. To those who have received the good news of the gospel and are now regenerated, redeemed and reconciled unto God we are now compelled to reconcile the world to God also.
Reconciliation doesn’t mean your feelings don’t matter or aren’t valid, it means that you know greater is than your feelings and He deserves to be worshipped, not your feelings. So, call your dad, your mum, your long-lost friend, that annoying colleague and reconcile with them wherever possible (Romans 12:18). As ambassadors of Christ this our charge. Let us repent where we have failed in this regard and let us fix our eyes on Jesus as our supreme example. Reconcile, it is God’s will for you.
*Images from Unsplash