Ever felt you had a wall between yourself and a friend? Maybe it was just a feeling of uneasiness that something wasn’t quite right between you and someone you thought you knew well… something un-spoken and vague. But, under the surface it was irritating some deep part of you and the slow fuse of resentment starts to smolder. Maybe you feel that way about God?
Reading through the book of JOB and 2 Corinthians 5 in preparation for a sermon, I came across the word “reconciliation." It seemed right to linger over its meaning for awhile.
Reconciliation: (noun) the restoration of friendly relations
Lives get sideways. Relationships suffer, people drift away, trust is reduced, and suspicions grow. Circumstances that were coincidences become planned in our minds and hearts and the offense of the “imagined” occurs.
Dark and nasty. Our trust becomes doubt and an imperceptible negative ”agreement” occurs. Our minds invent more and more elaborate details to fuel our growing rage at the separation we feel but can’t define.
Our pride steps in and insists “We DIDN'T DO ANYTHING.” That’s all on them. We surround ourselves with defensive facts, designed to justify our anger and we turn our backs… we walk away wounded, but self-justified.
Friendships fade. New ones are sought out to instantly fill the now vacant space in our lives and we quickly move on… desperate to avoid another “betrayal.” We mumble a quick prayer to God about how “messed up” that old friend was/is and we rarely if ever stop to consider the truth behind the emotional barrier we may have actually constructed.
Job felt that way about God. He didn't know exactly what role God had played in his life, but he sensed something was out of balance, that God wasn't telling him the whole story. Instead of jumping to the conclusion that God had betrayed him, Job pushed for a “reconciliation” with his maker. That’s courageous stuff. Paul clearly challenges the New Testament Christian in his second letter to Corinth, to make “Reconciliation” the ultimate expression of their faith in action. Ouch.
That means if we are serious about going after Christ, we will have to be honest with how well we’re “reconciling” ourselves with each other and with God. If we play mind games with ourselves and others, the impact of us attempting to minister to others in Christ’s name would ring pretty hollow. I believe God wants us to be quick to forgive, forget and reconcile. Modeling the life of Jesus to others by the ways in which we cling tenaciously to the friendships and family that God has so graciously gifted us to be with.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 COR 5:17-20 (ESV))
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