Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. . . . Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:2-3
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:1-32
Reconciliation. It’s hard to go a single day without experiencing the need for it. Within families, friends, and colleagues, strife seems to rear its head without provocation or invitation.
Take a moment to think about the relationship you have that needs some sort of reconciliation.
One of the greatest, and perhaps most challenging, aspects of God’s pursuit of reconciliation with His creation is the responsibility it places on humans to pursue reconciliation with each other.
While the nature of our separation from God requires that God bridge that gap (we cannot reconcile ourselves to God because of His nature and ours—but that’s a far longer discussion), our separation from each other, requires work on our part.
Though rooted in the same sin and selfishness, reconciliation between humanity takes effort. Selfless, dedicated, deliberate, and direct.
We alienate each other in a variety of ways, large and small, intentional and not. In order to compensate for that, we need to know Jesus.
We need to see his behavior and be able to emulate how he treated people and interacted with them.
We could spend time examining a variety of stories of Jesus’s life. An exercise that is always worthwhile. But it may be more direct to look at an idea Paul wrote (on a number of occasions to a number of people).
Paul, being a good study of reconciliation himself— moved from antagonizing and attacking the church to the greatest church-planter and Christian defender in history.
I’d like to take a moment to suggest that the fundamental requirement for interpersonal reconciliation is humility. Reconciliation, removing the barriers to relationships, may require that we put ourselves in the back seat and allow someone else’s interest to be the focus.
We may have to allow ourselves to take the harm and take the hurt, and then take it to Jesus who took harm and hurt from us to reconcile us to God.
Writing to the church in Ephesus (and to the church in Philippi) Paul calls followers of Jesus to humility and to consider others better than ourselves. And in the situation in Philippi, this was directly connected to a couple of people needing to reconcile.
The work of reconciliation takes putting the good of someone else ahead of ourselves. It means asking what is good for them; what will help them grow more in their character and closeness to Christ.
It is difficult to find something that should be more important to the follower of Jesus than seeing others grow closer to Him too.
If we are committed to what is good, that will lead us to humbly look out for others, even if it means we have to put ourselves in the back seat.
Prayer: God, life is full of relationships and sometimes those relationships need reconciliation. I confess that my desire is to be right and to look for my own interests.
Help me to follow Jesus’s example and put myself to the side so that others can find peace and hopefully grow closer to you.
Reflection: With whom do you need to seek reconciliation? Call or find them today and take steps toward it.
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