American psychiatrist Morgan Scott Peck, author of the popular book A Road Less Traveled, states that, “The overall purpose of human communication is – or should be – reconciliation. It should ultimately serve to lower or remove the walls of misunderstanding which unduly separate us human beings, one from another.”
Jesus is the perfect example in demonstrating the heart behind reconciliation. Humility provoked Jesus to leave His heavenly domain to reconcile mankind with God the Father. As ambassadors for Christ, reconciliation must become an integral part of our daily living.
“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 men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Reconciliation is the solution to division or strife, which can include racism, class-division, religious warfare, and relational rejection. However, only by first being reconciled with Jesus Christ can we reconcile with others. The grace of God is present and sufficient for us, and we’ve each received an honorable call that will impact us for eternity.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
But what about reconciling with non-believers? Is it permissible to allow strife and rejection to exist with these fellow colleagues, family members, or acquaintances? Hear me out on this: If someone we care about rejects Jesus Christ, we must not reject loving them in return. Because the choice for someone to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord is their choice; it’s not ours.
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John3:16-17
As ambassadors for Christ, our formula is quite simple. We must love others as Jesus loves others (believers and non-believers), and we must allow God to work out everything else. Because He is the Creator of all, He knows every detail in the hearts of believers and non-believers alike (which we cannot see). In His great love, He will guide us in what to do and how to act. Keep in mind that repentance and salvation are the byproduct of Christ’s love and kindness, and love covers a multitude of sins. Gentleness is what people respond to in Christ, not rejection and fear.
“Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you towards repentance?” Romans 2:4
Pay attention to this, beloved. I have come across many hurt people who have been rejected by the very ones who should have been consoling them, loving them, and leading them to the truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus set boundaries in establishing who He would personally invest significant time into (the 12 disciples) and those He would share deep intimacy with (James, John, and Peter). However, He was still in community with those who didn’t revere Him as the Son of God.
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent’.” Luke 15:1-7
Without Christ, we ourselves could have been in the same place as the family members that we find disagreeable, or the colleagues who are “so worldly” that we cringe when hearing about their weekend. We must focus on truly hating only the sin (just as God does as a Holy Creator) and loving the sinner (just as Jesus did when He hung on the cross). If we hate both the sin and and the sinner, we do not represent Christ. Because all mankind bears the image of the Creator, we are all valuable to God.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.Do not be conceited.Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:14-18
In order to fulfill the Great Commission, we must be willing to reach out to everyone and anyone in real need. Therefore, making disciples out of all nations means that we must forsake discrimination and rejection of those who are different than us.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:19-20
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34
Here’s some food for thought:
What if we grabbed lunch with our atheist family members and treated them with dignity and respect, instead of pushing ideas on them (trying to be the Holy Spirit)? Or what if we grabbed a cup of coffee with our homosexual neighbor, trying to get to know them and and truly valuing them as a person? Or conversed in the break room with our Muslim colleague, first understanding where they are coming from, and then asking God what He wants you to do or say?
Instead of criticizing these people or avoiding them like the plague, we should take a real interest in loving those Jesus deeply loves. In the past, the Lord has specifically asked me NOT to say the name of Jesus while building certain relationships. Often times, in the very beginning we do not even need to say a single thing because our behavior will say more than enough.
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.” Galatians 5:14
Who can you be reconciled to today through the grace of Jesus Christ? Know someone who would be encouraged by this message? Please pass this along through our various social outlets below. And thank you for choosing His Daily Dose!
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