Friday, December 11, 2009

How to Begin Again

"While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son..." Romans 5:10
Whose responsibility is it to promote reconciliation when there has been sin and estrangement?  You'd think that it would be the responsibility of the person who has done the dirty deed or made the slanderous comment.  Aggrieved parties generally think that guilty should bear the burden.  But God has another way.

God understands that we are his enemies.  God does not suffer from any illusions about that.  He knows we are provocative rebels who use any excuse to reject him and, sometimes, to do things that we think would make him reject us.  As someone once said to me, it's a lot easier to leave a relationship if we think we're hated.  Sometimes we do bad things just in order to get God to leave us alone.

But God will not be provoked.  No matter what it is that we have done, said or plotted in our minds, he will not give up on his love for us.  HE pays the price of reconciliation even though WE are the guilty!  Incredible!

He pays the price.  No matter how often we sin.  He keeps demonstrating his love--all the way to the point of giving his life for us in Jesus Christ.  And then, to top that off, through his Word, through his Spirit, through his people, he take our hand so we will have an idea of what to do next.  He himself meets us and guides us along the path to bring us home.

I am so thankful that God doesn't make us figure out how to make things better.  He will take any sign of sorrow, any tiny bit of repentance, a mustard seed of faith--and then his overflowing love breaks down the walls.

Without that incredible and powerful love, we would be lost.  Like the Father in the story of the prodigal son, he comes running to us, guilty as we are, and, with tears, welcomes us home with a feast, with a robe of honor, and with a ring of promise. "This brother was dead, but now is living.  He was lost, but now is found."

Generally speaking, we're not good at reconciliation.  Many of us have a past littered with former friends and broken relationships.  We may smile and tolerate one another, but many of us feel little warmth.  So God demonstrates how!  He runs to us, taking the initiative, goes out of his way for us, takes the steps necessary to help us feel his welcome and to bring us home.  He woos us with his love.  He is not willing that ANY should perish.  And then, once we know that love, he commissions us to do the same:
"...If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us..." (First Corinthians 5:17-20)
Can we believe that every sin is done and over and paid for and that EVERYTHING is made new?  There is no doubt.  Jesus paid the price for EVERY sin.  Is this why Jesus makes his radical demands in his so-called "Sermon on the Mount"?  Love your enemies.  Pray for those who have done you wrong.  Let people take what is yours and don't demand it again.  I think so.

This is the only way to true reconciliation.  When we have received that gift of total forgiveness, then we can share the same with others.  When we remember that we are recipients of God's amazing and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE we can do good to tall.  We do not do good to enemies because we are good people.  It's only because we have already received the reconciliation we do not deserve.  We're simply passing along what he has first given to us.

How does this fit your life today?  Any thoughts?  Please comment or email me at

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