2 Corinthians 5:16-21
16 So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view. Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer. 17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come! 18 And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” 21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.
Wow, I am so moved by this passage this morning. I have read it over and over to try and soak up the depth of reconciliation, to try and sum up in a word or place a feeling upon what it means to be reconciled.
One word comes to mind, forgiveness.
Isn’t that the foundation of God’s entire plan and purpose for His Creation, that all things live together in peaceful loving communion with one-another and God Himself?
In the Old Testament there was the Law and Sacrifice, based upon physical control of the body. People were to live a certain way and do certain things to be reconciled to God.
Jesus changed that all, the New Covenant of Christ says that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place, and to rise again so we may live righteously with God through His Son, a complete union within the Trinity.
When I reflect on the areas in my life that cause me the most discomfort, stress, anxiety and trigger old behaviors of wanting to fight or flight, it always involves the behaviors of others.
Whether it be expectations placed upon me that I feel are unrealistic or unattainable, or expectations I’ve placed on others in which I feel they are not sufficiently meeting, it comes down to me playing god of my universe.
It is those un-reconciled relationships in our lives that God is calling His adopted children to reconcile if we want to experience the best this life has to offer and live in peace (as much as it is up to us).
They refused to obey and did not recall your miracles that you had performed among them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to return to their bondage in Egypt. But you are a God of forgiveness, merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and unfailing in your loyal love. You did not abandon them
One of the “survival” skills that I learned as a child of abuse was to become a compromiser, a people-pleaser. I learned how to become what YOU needed me to be, at the expense of any morals, values or pursuit of what is right. You either comply or get yelled at and hit.
I can tell you from experience, that is a very good way to lose yourself and disappear in the world. My whole life has been about figuring out what others need me to be for them to like me, then do that.
Now that I have been in Christ and on the road of recovery for nearly 3 years, I’m learning that those skills which I once thought brought me closer to people actually keep me separated. Pretending to be someone I’m not, pretending to want things I don’t, pretending to likes things I’m indifferent too, it creates a relationship based upon emptiness and lies.
My needs had become secondary or in some cases even non-existent. I lost myself in the pursuit of pleasing others. For me to not ask for something, then sit in resentment because I’m not allowed those favors which I desire only sets me up for disconnection from others; a self-fulfilling cycle of hurt, despair, disappointment and resentment.
Yet the Lord our God is compassionate and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him
God forgives supernaturally. Unconditional love dictates a never-ending hope, desire and open door of reconciliation.
As the Christian in an emotional duel with another for control in a situation, we are the ones called to offer compassion, grace, understanding, forgiveness, peace. It does not mean we cave in to the demands of a bully, but it does mean we are not allowed the option of resentment, hatred, ill-will towards that person.
Those who hurt us do not do so intentionally as far as they are aware, they are just selfishly locked in their own battle for survival and fighting for what they “think” is best for them and those around them. Sometimes their tactics, thoughts and behaviors are absurd, but then it is simply there where we must meet them and work it out with compassion, not anger.
21 “You have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother will be brought before the council, and whoever says ‘Fool’ will be sent to fiery hell. 23 So then, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your gift.
There is an amazing promise and hope, and we should be filled with a great motivation to reach out to those who have hurt us and offer forgiveness (which does not mean put ourselves in harms way) and also most importantly, offer amends and restitution to those we have hurt.
Regardless of other’s role in the fallout, God forgave us and reconciled us to the point of death, how far are we willing to go to be reconciled with Him and others?
Father God, you know the struggles of my heart, the fears of speaking my heart in those relationships which have meant the most throughout my life, the ones which have been strained the most by hurts on both sides of the fence. I gratefully receive the reconciliation of Christ, that the Holy Spirit and Your Word in the bible sets me free to love as you love. Help me to release the lies of Satan which tell me that asking for what I need, or speaking to the mutual hurts of the past will not cause greater division but instead break down those generational walls of fake masks, bitter compromises and resentful heartaches. Help me, and all Your children Lord to have the courage to speak the truth in love, to find the freedom that comes from risking reconciliation by facing those things which remain hidden in the dark, the secrets that are so hard to face. Bring Your everlasting, ever-loving grace into our hearts that we might trust You in those moments, knowing that You go before us and after us, to know deeply that You modeled the ultimate promise of reconciliation on the Cross, and that we are called to do the same in this world; to love others unconditionally. Thank You Lord for my life, for the renewing of my heart which seeks these things. May Your blessings be upon all of creation this day, in Jesus’ precious name I pray…