Picking up from our last blog, I would like to begin talking about the tools of reconciliation modeled by Jesus. The first is truth.
Jesus had a unique way of always bringing back the conversation at hand to the truth of the matter. Not only did he speak the truth but he was actually the truth in flesh. He told his disciples that if they would hold to his teaching, "then you will now the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)He also proclaimed to them that, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
Time and time again, he used truth to confront those who spoke and thought errantly. Sometimes it was the religious leaders of his day. "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58) Other times it was to his own disciples. When Peter swore his undying allegiance to Jesus and pledged to lay down his life for him, Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!" (John 13:38)
Truth and speaking the truth into situations can be a powerful tool in our efforts at reconciliation to all levels of relationships that we deal with daily.
1. Man to God - So many people today have an incorrect view of who God is, if there is a God or if there is a whole pantheon of gods. To many, God or "the gods" are far removed from humans if he/they exist at all. To others, they have bought into the postmodern idea that we can basically make God who we want him to be or even can become our own god thus finding the salvation to all our needs within our own selves. The truth of who God is in the Bible cries out for us to speak truth in our efforts at reconciliation. God is sovereign, creator and ruler over everything. He is all powerful, all knowing and ever compassionate. He is merciful but just. He is holy and awesome yet personable and approachable. He is good and loving and righteous by nature. He has created us for his own good pleasure and our lives are fulfilled as we live to obey and please him. In a world with so many differing views of who God is, we should speak (and live) the truth as his "ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us...be reconciled to God!" (2 Corinthians 5:20) Jesus came to show us, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who God is and how he truly loves us. He was God in flesh. Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father..." to which Jesus replied, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." Pointing others to who God really is, Jesus, is truth reconciliation.
2. Man to fellow man - The truth that we should speak here is that God's plan for our relationship with others is wholesome and mutually nurturing. God does not desire broken families. God finds no delight in people addicted to drugs, alcolhol, pornography, etc. Poverty, sickness and pain is not in God's heart for people. The reconciliation truth is that all of these things have come about because of mans' choices. See what Jesus did when he came in contact with people in need. He touched them where they hurt. To the blind, he touched their eyes. To the lame, he touched their legs. He took the sick by the hand. He spoke with authority to those demon possessed and touched their souls. The reconciliation truth is that God desires abundance in our relationship with others through the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
3. Man to creation - The truth that we speak and live here is that everything created by God has a special place in his heart. And we have been given the great and precious privlege of being assigned the task of stewardship of creation. To "care for" creation. Thus natural resources are not something we are to conquer, subdue and abuse, but rather something to be honored and cared for in a way that gives glory back to the owner creator. Jesus recognized the significance of God's creation. He was constantly using the simple illustrations of nature to communicate eternal principles to his followers. He urged them to, "Look at the birds of the air..." and "see how the lilies of the field grow". (Matthew 6:26, 28)
4. Man to himself - Those entrapped in sin and struggling in the multiple untruths of life, often have marred identities in regards to themselves. Poverty can convince a person that they are nothing and cannot help themselves. A life trapped in the evils of drugs, prostitution, or any dozen traps spiraling out of control, can convince a person that they are worthless, unloveable and beyond help. The reconciliation truth to those who have lost hope is that they, like all of us, have a divine spark in our lives in that we all are created in the image of God. The world tells a down and outter that they are nothing, that they are worthless. God truth says that they are somebody, created in his image, worthy to the point that God gave his only begotten son to die for them. The reconciliation truth we speak to those who are mired in the world is that God sees them in a whole different light than they see themselves and who they are at the moment is not the true person God has created them to be. With his help, they can become a new creation.
The ministry of reconciliation; the tool of truth...
Next blog, the tool of touch...