Reconciliation

Ever felt you had a wall between yourself and a friend? Maybe just a “un-ease” that something wasn’t quite right between you and someone you thought you knew well… something un-spoken and vague, but under the surface it was irritating some deep part of you and the slow fuse of resentment starts to smolder. Maybe you feel that way about God ?
Reading through the book of JOB & 2 Corinthians 5 in preparation for Sunday’s sermon… came across this word “reconciliation“, It seemed right to “linger” a bit …

photo - markspsychiatry.com

photo – markspsychiatry.com

  Reconciliation : (noun) the restoration of friendly relations.
synonyms: reuniting, reunion, bringing together (again), conciliation, reconcilement, rapprochement, fence-mending;pacification, appeasement, placating, mollification

“the reconciliation of the disputants” –resolution, settlement, settling, resolving, mending, remedying – “a reconciliation of their differences” agreement, compromise, understanding, peace;   (Source – GOOGLE)
Lives get sideways… relationships suffer, people drift away and trust is reduced… suspicions grow. Circumstances that were simple “coincidence” become – “planned” in our minds/hearts and the offense of the “imagined” occurs.
Dark and nasty our trust becomes doubt and an imperceptible negative “agreement” occurs, our minds inventing more and more elaborate details to fuel our growing rage at the separation we feel – but can’t define .
Our pride steps in and insists “We Didn’t DO ANYTHING” – that’s all on them. We surround ourselves with defensive facts, designed to justify our anger and we turn our backs… we walk away wounded, but self-justified.
Friendships fade. New ones are sought out to instantly fill the now vacant space in our lives and we quickly move on… desperate to avoid another “betrayal”.  We mumble a quick prayer to God about how “messed up” that old friend was/is and we rarely if ever stop to consider the truth behind the emotional barrier we may have actually constructed.
JOB felt that way about God. He didn’t know exactly what role God had played in his life, but he “sensed” something was out of balance, that God wasn’t telling him the whole story. Instead of “jumping” to the conclusion that God had betrayed him… JOB pushed for a “reconciliation” with his maker, that’s courageous stuff.  Paul clearly challenges the New Testament Christian in his second letter to Corinth, to make “Reconciliation” the ultimate expression of their faith in action.
Ouch.
That means if we are serious about going after Christ, we will have to be honest with how well we’re “reconciling” ourselves with each other and with God. If we play mind games with ourselves and others… the impact of us attempting to ministering to others in Christ’s name… would ring pretty hollow. I believe God wants us to be “quick” to forgive, forget and reconcile. Modeling the life of Jesus to others by the ways in which we cling tenaciously to the friendships and family that God has so graciously gifted us to be with.

2 COR 5:17-20 (ESV – Biblegateway.com) mom-and-daughter-bonding

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 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. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Pray about it… ask God to help you identify the people, places and spaces in your life that need to be “reconciled” and then go in faith to make it so….
Love you, Pastor B.

Talking with kids about the death of bin-Laden…

Everyone knows by now… confirmed by President Obama, Osama bin Laden is dead. The world reacts…, many with jubilation, some with fear and others with resentment. Almost ten years later, a chapter is finally closed for many Americans.

But how are we as Christian parents to respond ?

I wouldn’t dare presume to tell you how to answer the questions certain to come from your kids about this, but here are some things to consider.

1- Osama bin-Laden was an evil man, guilty of great acts of terror and injustice. His involvement with the murder of thousands on 9-11 has symbolized the hatred and pain of millions around the world. His capture and death represents justice for those he murdered and threatened and maimed.

2- The price of Freedom is high, and with the death of Osama bin-Laden, it is clear that Americans may face more threats and even future attacks, but the principles of Justice and Freedom remain. Those values and beliefs demand that  we proceed in actively protecting ourselves against such violent men and their obvious evil. Regardless of the threat of further danger or acts of terror, we cannot live controlled by fear and avoid confronting evil… or the principle of terror wins.

3 – God is a  God of Justice. There are many in-justices in our lives, many wrongs. But in the end it is the Christian’s belief and hope that there is a personal God who is aware, and involved and concerned. It is the way of God to bring justice to the oppressed and to bring freedom to those in captivity. The nearly ten-year man-hunt for bin-Laden that resulted in his death is symbolic of the Christians belief in the relentless nature of God’s justice. It may take years, or decades before it is seen, but God is indeed at work behind the scenes, righting every wrong and redeeming every loss.

4- Hatred is always a temptation that must be resisted. As a Christian, we are commanded to love our friends and our enemies. That love is impossible to create on our own, but comes from the deepest understanding of our own fallen nature and God’s willingness to forgive our own sins. Our kids need to know, forgiveness is essential to seek in the face of being wronged by others. That does not mean we ignore the need for  Justice or the divine nature and inspiration of our law and order. It does mean that we as parents should model forgiveness and wisdom in our own responses to personal injustice and  conflict.

In the end, this story is a powerful reminder of the nature of justice and perseverance and good overcoming evil. It is a story of villans and heroes, of sacrifice and loss and of justice and redemption. It is our personal and national story and we must be willing and proud to share it with the next generation so the lessons are not lost and the truth is always in front of us.

Parents, God bless you in your struggle to help your families follow after the faith and values you hold so dear. Here is to “keeping it on the road and in-between the lines” !

Peace out,

brad.