The Church kitchen is maybe the best place to observe whether the group of people inside like each other. Often, we can tell if the group of people doing work in the kitchen have fought over the cooking and the food. We might dislike others with a different cooking method, we dislike others with a different hygiene concept, how they use the fridge, the storage, sometimes even how they are simply different. We will find that not everyone can accept differences, and differences can lead to relational breakdowns. We can see tensions not just in the kitchen, but outside of the kitchen. No matter where we are, we simply do not accept people who are different. Yet, we are called to be peacemakers, and making peace is also in the Gospel, and part of what we are called to do. Which is why reconciliation is important for us, it helps us build bridges across distances, overcomes hostility, be more available, reach others who are different, and promote peace among all.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Romans 5:10 also tells us, “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”. We have not made any effort to make peace with God, we have not come to the middle, to actively seek reconciliation. God is the one who worked and paid the price for our peace with Him. He has come to complete His work of reconciliation. We did not earn this nor we deserve reconciliation, but God has graciously done this for us. We just receive them freely in grace.
Reconciliation is not keeping ourselves respectable outwardly while allowing our resentment and distrust towards others continue to rage in our hearts. If we hold grudges among brothers and sisters and claim that we love them, others might see that we are only the group of people who pretend that we love one another.
If we claim we are living the Christian life, yet we live in denial of reconciliation, others cannot see the Christian witness. More so with the unbelievers, they will not be convinced of the Gospel. If our relationships with one another are distant, and we keep separating ourselves instead of achieving unity in the Holy Spirit, how can we commend the gospel to unbelievers and tell them this is the Good News? How do we tell others about the power of His resurrection?
“Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:11). When we receive reconciliation, let us also promote reconciliation and peace among all in the church. It is also written, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18). The world has enough division, and the Church is the best place to reconcile. Let us build up in peace according to the love of God.
If we deny peacemaking and deny reconciliation in the Church, there is a danger of not promoting what the Gospel is in the Church. If we grow distant with one another, become cold in our love, or take offence for a long time, there is a danger of separating our Church instead of building as one body in Christ.
So, who are we keeping our distance from? Who are we avoiding? Is there anyone we do not want to talk to? To whom we need to apologise? If we say we love the gospel of reconciliation, can we let any relational breakdown go on and on without at least trying to reconcile?
If God has done the work of reconciling, let us share the Gospel of reconciliation to others, for this ministry of reconciliation is also given to us. For it is written: “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 people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
- Is there any area in your life that still needs peacemaking with God?
- Who do you want to reconcile with today?
- During relational tension, how will you draw strength from Lord Jesus who made peace among us?
- How can you pray for the Church, and pray for unbelievers to be reconciled to God?
Response to God
Let us keep living in peace with one another. Let us start to understand that God sees reconciliation in the Gospel as important.
Lord, we thank you for reconciling us to you through Christ. We admit that sometimes we let our dislike of others turn into tension and separation in the Church. Help us to see the importance of forgiving one another and reconciling, for the Gospel is about reconciliation without counting who has committed the offence. All these are possible through Christ. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.