2 Corinthians 5:20a Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us…
My son and his family doesn’t know Christ yet personally. Some of them, as I did for decades, profess a belief in God, but there is no church, no bible, no prayer, not even CEO faith (Christmas and Easter Only). I wrestle with what my role is being that I don’t live in their house, this concept of being an ambassador for Christ is a good reflection point for me.
I myself didn’t come into an authentic relationship with Christ until I was 45, a hard and broken life that was filled with all the glory, fun, pleasures and rewards the world has to offer but it was a selfish existence seeking only what I wanted next out of life and ignoring those in need around me.
Today I can say “gratefully” the rewards of the flesh are a dead end road but it has taken years to get beyond the resentfulness I felt toward my past abusers and take humble ownership of my own shortcomings that not only endured those dysfunctional relationships, but sought them out, participated freely, encouraged and enabled them.
Yes, there are true victim of childhood abuses (as I experienced), but I was completely mistaken in thinking I’ve been the victim of others throughout my adult life. I was the yang to their ying that EQUALLY fueled those broken relationships.
Sadly, as long as the world is dishing out rewards it is nearly impossible for a person to realize what they are missing in Christ (Mark 2:17), for it is only Him who opens our eyes to our own unseen soul sickness and the suffering of those around us and which then fills us with an ache that calls us to rise and ask “how can I change and how can I help others”.
A huge misconception in my early walk with Christ, and one that breaks my heart in looking at the churches around me today is the self-righteous self-proclaimed Christian who thinks it is their job to point out other’s sin and to put themselves on a pedestal of righteous living through works and proclamations that give off the appearance of holiness.
This shallow misconceived Christianity is the one that condemns and judges others, pickets and writes letters and stands on street corners telling others the bad news of condemnation and destruction that awaits “them” as a result of “their” sin.
What they don’t see is that we all stand in line for that same judgment and those in the church should realize more than anyone how short we come to the glory of Christ. (Romans 3:23).
There can be no place in the church to rise up in self-righteous condemnation of those blind and lost and who have no clue what they are missing without Christ, they need love, they need compassion, mercy, understanding, grace; they need hand and heart reaching out with the Good News!
They need what we each receive on a daily basis, forgiveness and mercy found only in the blood of Christ, not through anything we have done, are doing, or will ever achieve. We are all beggars standing in line for our portion.
If we ever think that “we have arrived, look at how good I am” and begin to think our mission is to call out others who we consider are living lives “less worthy” than our own we truly run the risk of hearing the words:
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. Matthew 7:23
I believe hypocrisy is the #1 killer of people outside looking in of ever wanting to step in the door, and it is that hypocrisy that I see sitting on the inside at those sitting around me that prevents me from wanting to invite others in.
Don’t get me wrong, there are huge circles of authentic Christian followers within the churches and I for one would shrivel up and die alone without the church, and there are thousands who know they are broken and are living a life poured out in pursuit of righteous service and purity of living, but most importantly they are the ones grounded in humility and never declare “I’m better than you”.
It is God’s word alone that reminds us how we are to love the others around us, how we are to share the Good News, how we are to have a singleness in purpose of introducing others to Christ as His ambassadors and it is the Trinity who will then get busy working the sin out of their life, through the same grace, compassion and mercy He is showing us.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Father God, I pray for your church, I pray for my own heart that constantly wants to take credit for the good I see You doing around me. Our pride Lord is the one that feeds entitlements, selfishness, narrow-mindedness, self-righteousness, ego… these are the blinders of faith that are constantly pulling at us to minimize Your work on the cross, Your blood spilled that alone washes us clean. Place in our hearts this day Father a message, Your message of reconciliation. A message that opens the arms of grace and welcomes those broken and hurting into the doors of Your church, not the pointing fingers that say “get your act cleaned up so you can come to church”. We are a sick and dying world Lord and we desperately need You Lord. Let me, let us never lose sight of that Father. In Jesus’ precious name…