Sometimes the Bible asks you to do nice things like give someone a cup of water or feed someone or share an extra coat. Those things are pretty easy and make us feel pretty good about ourselves. But then the Lord also asks us to do thing that are pretty hard to do and I kick and stomp like a two year old and say, "I don't wanna!" or "That's too hard!" That happened the other day during some reading and writing of a New Year's scripture plan. All the verses were about being new and refreshed and all that good stuff. But then 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 showed up. "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."
The first thing out of my mouth back the Lord was, "That's a tall order." Like, really? You think I can do that? And in my heart, He responded..."Yep." I don't know if the holy, perfect God of the universe says, "yep" but in my heart language He does. So what does all of that mean?
The entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 5 is about heaven and the "Ministry of Reconciliation". What in the world does that mean? Well, as best as I can tell, it's about how people and God reconcile. When God made man, He made everything perfect but because He didn't make us robots with no free will, man took it upon himself to stray from God's perfect will and the consequence was eternal separation. Until Jesus.
Jesus was the game changer. He was the perfect sacrifice and when he gave himself up to die for every single human on the planet for every single wrong thing they would ever do, he reconciled us to God. We have to take that in and believe it...but whether you believe it or not, he did it.
So then this verse comes and knocks us over. Once we believe it, it's on us to live it out. It's on us to be the example and when someone looks at our life, it should point them to Christ. We should be the reason someone "gets it" and believes. We become the reconcilers. Tall order, right?
When I was in Haiti this past summer and it was 172 degrees (a slight exaggeration), I lovingly reminded my dear friend and roommate to do everything without grumbling and complaining (Phil 2:14). I told her it should be her life verse. She began to resent me just a little, so I jokingly brought it up about every 3 minutes (not an exaggeration). The fact is, I was grumbling and complaining so badly I might have set an Olympic record. I believe Paul told us not to grumble and complain because it doesn't point to Jesus. It doesn't bring anyone closer to the reconciler, in fact, it's repulsive.
You don't hear too many messages on this ministry of reconciliation. Maybe because our pastors haven't seen proof that we're cut out for it. We don't act like ambassador material. Often times, Christians are doing the most complaining, shaming, finger-pointing and condemning. Take a look at your news feeds when someone posts an article about Donald Trump, abortion, gun control, or grass fed beef. Even if we aren't quite up to the task of helping people reconcile themselves to God, we could at least agree to disagree and love someone anyway.
Dictionary.com says the definition of reconcile is to win over or bring into agreement. There's a popular song out that says, "I've never seen a soul set free by an argument." Christians can't pray for and expect revival until we stop arguing (with each other and the world) and start loving.
It's funny, I found this verse by way of a New Year scripture writing plan but I think God brought it to me to convict me of my own short comings in this area. I'm not here to throw anyone under the bus without stepping in front of it myself first. And I think what I realize is that even though I've been a believer for a long time, I have to remember and rejoice in my reconciliation daily. Only then with a heart full of gratitude can I point people to the Great I Am.