July 16, 2018
READ: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
[God] gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation (v.19).
I found myself in a tense, combustible situation—standing between two groups of angry people who were nose to nose, boiling over with rage and hatred. One group spewed vile, dehumanising words at the other; then that group spewed vile, dehumanising words back. In that volatile space, both groups completely lost perspective of the other’s humanity. Locked in an intractable posture of opposition, neither side would acknowledge any common ground. Neither side would consider there might be some way to resolve their differences or even begin any kind of constructive conversation. Both sides felt wronged and wanted only to punish their foe.
In contrast, when Jesus confronted sin, His ultimate goal was always reconciliation. Jesus’ mission was to reach out to those who “were far away from God” and bring them near (Ephesians 2:13). He reached out to all of us, though we’ve all rebelled against God and resisted His love. He moved right past our ignorance and our protests in order to offer us healing. “God was in Christ,” Paul tells us, “reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
And this posture of reconciliation isn’t merely the way Jesus lived but also how He calls us to live. Christ “gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation” (v.19). Now He’s chosen to reconcile the world through us. “We are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us” (v.20).
In conflicts, we should never seek revenge. Rather, we should seek healing and reconciliation. We’re not to inflict pain on those who have wronged us but seek the possibility of forgiveness and the divine mending Jesus brings.
365-day plan: Mark 6:14-29
Read Ephesians 2:11-12.Who needed to be reconciled here? What did this reconciliation cost Jesus?
When are you tempted to seek revenge? Who’s offered you reconciliation, and how did that feel?