Reconciliation Is Not About You, But About Jesus
“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.” 1 Corinthians 5:18-20
Conflicts within the Christian Church are nothing new. Conflict is nearly as old as the world that God created. Since the fall into sin, conflicts between husband and wife, brother and brother, and between those created and their Creator have always been present. Too often we see the source of conflict in our relationships as divisions over issues and disagreements over who is right or wrong. In St. Paul’s first letter to the Church at Corinth, he makes clear to us that the ministry and the message of reconciliation are about our relationship with God. We are quick to try to eliminate God from the conflicts we experience and make them about us. The ministry of reconciliation is Christ’s ministry as God was reconciling the world unto Himself in Christ. Reconciliation begins with Christ and our relationship with Him. Only those who are reconciled to Him are then entrusted with the message of reconciliation.
This means that those who have heard Christ’s Word of Absolution and have been reconciled to God again and again are sent forth as ambassadors for Christ. The ambassador speaks not one’s own word, but only what the “Sovereign” directs to be said. Dear friends, God makes His appeal through us as we speak of Christ and the reconciliation that God worked through His death and continues to work through that message of reconciliation.
We will continue to experience such conflicts this side of heaven until Christ returns to “hush the storm of strife and passion, bid its cruel discords cease.” (LSB 842, v. 3) The place at which reconciliation begins is not in a meeting, but at the cross. As Christians, we come in humble repentance, acknowledging our sin and begging for God’s forgiveness for Christ’s sake. As we are reconciled to God, we are enabled to approach our own conflicts by bringing Christ into those relationships. The events we have faced in the last year have led to many conflicts. At times, these conflicts have been more complicated because there is no obvious “right” answer. However, the starting point of reconciliation is always with Christ. Reconciliation is different than conflict resolution. It is only in Christ that God us reconciles unto Himself and thereby enables us to speak to one another the reconciling Word. May our relationships with one another always begin at the cross and therefore be centered in the forgiveness and reconciliation that Jesus Christ has accomplished for us.
Prayer – God of love, through Your Son, You have commanded us to love one another. By the guidance of Your Word and Spirit, deliver us from impenitence and teach us the truth that we might confess our sins, receive Your forgiveness, and be reconciled to one another; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan