Sunday, September 6, 2009

Transparency: The Third Tool of Reconciliation

By far, the first two tools of reconiliation already discussed (truth and touch) are the most employed and modeled in the life of Jesus. The next four tools that we will discuss (transparency, tenderness, toughness, and timing) are minor in comparison and in number of occurences/uses in the scriptures. However, they are models nevertheless and are worth mentioning and exploring.

Perhaps the best example of Jesus' use of transparency for reconciliation occurs in John chapter 4. It is the story of his encounter with the Samaritan woman whom he met at the well. He and his disciples had left Judea and were on their way back to Galilee and so they passed through Samaria. Coming to the town of Sychar, Jesus decided to take a rest by Jacob's well. His disciples had gone ahead into the town to buy food but Jesus stayed behind because he was tired from the journey.

As he was resting, a Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus asked her for a drink. She responded by saying he would not ask of her if he knew who she was because she was Samaritan and he was a Jew.

Jesus first confronts her in the process of reconciliation with a truth encounter. Of course he knew who she was. He knew everything about her. He even knew about her five previous husbands and the man she was currently living with. And when she acknowledged that he was a prophet (her words), she also confronted him with a question about where and how to worship.

Jesus' response was to tell her that a time was coming when all true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. To which she says, "I know that coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." To which Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he." Transparency with a capital "T".

As to why Jesus chose at this moment, in this particular place, to this particular woman to be transparent and boldly proclaim that he was the Messiah, we can only speculate. However, we can know without a shadow of a doubt that he was employing utter transparency in this act and it has an astonishing affect in the woman's life. Later on in the chapter, we are told that "many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony. "He told me everything I ever did."

So, the Samaritans went for themselves to see Jesus and he stayed with them 2 days because of their urging. And because of his words many more became believers. To show the strength of his transparent ministry of reconciliation first to the woman, the people of the town said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this many really is the Savior of the world."

There were times that Jesus was very tranparent with people in order to lead them into right relationships with God the Father. This story is but one example.

Next time: tenderness as a tool of reconciliation.


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