Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:12-17
When we come to Christ, our spirit is born again and God sees us as righteous in Christ. We are reconciled to God through what Jesus did on the cross, and He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
To bring reconciliation means to bring peace between conflicting parties. It may be between God and sinners, but also between people who are in conflict with each other. God wants to use us to bring people back to Himself, and also to resolve conflict between people. This is not something that requires merely a personality type, but the Holy Spirit working through a person’s life.
Every Christian is called to be a peacemaker: “we are ambassadors for Christ” [2 Corinthians 5:20]. When we seek to bring peace wherever we go, we are simply doing what the Father does – it is not surprising, therefore, that peacemakers are called sons of God!
Peace only works in conjunction with truth, wisdom and love. It is not the same as appeasement, which is peace at any price. Peace is costly. It cost the death of God’s only son. “To proclaim ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace is the work of a false prophet, not of Christian witness” [Jeremiah 8:11].
Peace often involves pain. John Stott has written, “We may not be personally involved in a dispute, but may find ourselves struggling to reconcile to each other two people or groups who are estranged and at variance with each other. In this case, there will be the pain of listening, of ridding ourselves of prejudice, of striving sympathetically to understand both the opposing points of view, and of risking misunderstanding, ingratitude or failure.” Facing up to issues is vital in bringing peace but it is often painful.
Peace making requires a positive attitude of love and care. When you start to love people you become vulnerable. C.S. Lewis wrote: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal! Wrap it carefully around with little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable… The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is hell.”
To be a peacemaker requires honesty, truthfulness, dependence upon the Holy Spirit and love. Are you prepared to be a peacemaker?
In the context of our reading today, what does it mean to have a ministry of reconciliation?