I’ve never been one to choose a word for the year. I love words so picking one would be a huge chore. Recently, however, I had an epiphany during a Sunday school class discussion of the word “reconciliation.”
This is my word. Not only for 2018 but for my life. I need reconciliation. I need to be reconciled. And so does this difficult world in which we live.
According to dictionary.com, reconciliation is “when former enemies agree to an amicable truce.” Or “when someone becomes resigned to something not desired.” Or “the process of making consistent or compatible.”
For me, it’s the setting aside of differences and a return to love, friendship, and caring. Synonyms include compromise—oh how we seem to despise that word in this day of screaming partisan discord—and harmony.
Isn’t harmony a lovely word. So much nicer than discord.
Personally, I need to apply the balm of reconciliation in several areas of my life. Even after three years, I must work to be reconciled to my loss of mobility. To stop mourning my inability to hike, zipline, body surf in the ocean, or walk on a park trail. Walking used to be like breathing. Not anymore. Hanging onto my irritation over not being able to bend over to pick up something I dropped only dilutes my joy at simply being alive.
I need to reconcile myself to living with cancer. I can pray for a miracle of healing and I do. But I’m also learning to pray for obedience to God’s will. And acceptance as in “becoming resigned to something not desired.”
I need to be reconciled to my appearance post-back surgery and post chemotherapy. I admit I still wince when I see photos of myself or look in the mirror and see my strange turtle-head-bobbing posture and graying pixie hair. And that doesn’t address the scars no one else can see.
Overcoming a childhood that resulted in poor self-esteem and self-image has been an on-going battle over the years. I’m reconciled to those involved, but still strive to reconcile the residual damage.
Reconciliation is the prescription needed to heal our divided country. I don’t believe democrats and republicans or liberals and conservatives are truly enemies. But we certainly rant on social media as if we are. In the interest of transparency, I confess to being somewhere in the middle as only a life-long pacifist tree hugger Christian can be. We have the love of our country and our freedoms in common. We want what is best for our country.
Unfortunately, we all think we know what that is. In Russell Moore’s Onward Bible Study, he says about Christians and our clash with mainstream culture, “We aren’t prosecuting attorneys, seeking to indict our opponents with their sin . . . . Rather, we’re defense attorneys or, as the Bible puts it, ministers of reconciliation.”
Instead of fostering open lines of communication with civilized discourse, we shake our fingers at those with differing opinions. We rant against them or we gather in our insular enclaves, shake our heads, and murmur among ourselves about those blankity blanks— you can fill in the blanks depending on where you stand on the issues.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God.” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
Can you image Jesus Christ using some of the hateful rhetoric being spewed because of the horrific loss of life in a Parkland, FL high school—by both sides of the gun control issue? If he were standing next to you or me right now, would we be able to look him in the eye and say we’ve been his ambassador?
As Moore points out later in Onward, seeing people with different views from a Christlike perspective prevents us from seeing them as opponents to be conquered or foes to be vanquished.” “With this new perspective we’re free to treat everyone with the honor, respect, and compassion befitting another image bearer of God.”
This world needs reconciliation. Offer a kind word instead of judging. Treat others with respect, especially when you disagree with them. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) If we could all do that, we might leave for our children and grandchildren a world worth having. And we just might make it to the promised land!
Be reconciled. Leave a kind comment on what you will do to be reconciled to someone with whom you’ve been at odds, whether it’s recently or for years. Life is short. Act now!
Peace and joy.