“And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
In 2 Cor. 5:19-20, the Apostle Paul tells us that we have all been given a ministry of reconciliation. My question to you is: How is that going so far?
I mean, what do you do every day to bring reconciliation to those around you? Who have you reconciled with recently? How many people in your community have you helped to reconcile with others? What is your strategy for increasing the scope of reconciliation in your sphere of influence?
These are sobering questions, especially for those who take the scriptures seriously. I mean, if we’re going to say we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then we need to admit that we’ve been given responsibility for advancing the message of reconciliation to everyone around us. So…let’s get going!
Loving those who love us in return isn’t good enough. We’ve been given a higher calling by Jesus himself: To love those who do NOT love us back; to love even those who mistreat us and hate us and seek to do us harm.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” [Luke 6:32-36]
To be honest, this question about how my personal ministry of reconciliation is going is one that I felt the Holy Spirit ask me a few years ago. This verse above came to my mind and as I was pondering it the Spirit asked me: “How is your ministry of reconciliation going so far?” and I had to admit that I hadn’t exactly gotten started yet.
So, that’s partly why I started something called Pacifist Fight Club a few years ago. It’s also why my wife and I recently joined Peace Catalyst International.
The ministry of reconciliation is something Jesus set into motion, and his desire is that we continue spreading this message and practice of reconciliation everywhere we go.
I’ve started to realize that there are two paths and we’re either on one or the other. One path leads to arguments, conflict and eventually violence. It’s marked out by a decision to focus on our differences and is focused on determining who is right and who is wrong. But, the other path – the one we need to walk if we’re serious about our ministry of reconciliation – is marked by focusing on what we have in common. It’s not concerned with being right or wrong. This path leads to dialog, friendship, understanding, and eventually to peace and reconciliation.
To further my own ministry of reconciliation, I’ve started to co-host a new podcast called the Peace Catalyst Podcast with my co-host Becca Pugh. We’ve already recorded a half dozen conversations with Muslim women peacemakers to help us practice humility, develop the art of listening, and discover how much we still need to learn about this path that leads to peace.
The first 2 episodes are up now. You can listen HERE>
Your ministry of reconciliation might look different. It might involve sharing a meal, or drinking tea with someone outside your comfort zone. It might look like visiting a Mosque or a Synagogue, or a Buddhist Temple. Who knows? But, whatever it looks like, the one thing I can promise you is this: It won’t “just happen.” It will take some intention and planning. It will mean spending time with people who are not like you. It will involve listening without judgment. It will include a desire to find what you have in common with those outside your faith community. Most of all, it will require you to love those who are unlike you.
Give it a try.
Deconstructing your faith isn’t easy. Don’t go through it alone.
Starting May 10, we’ll launch our next round of Square 1 – a 90-day online course and online community designed to help you navigate the Deconstruction process and move on to Reconstruction without Self-Destruction.
For a limited time, you can register for a whopping 75% off at this link HERE>
If you’re looking for someone to walk with you through this process, please meet me at Square 1.
Keith Giles and his wife, Wendy, work with Peace Catalyst International to help build relationships between Christians and Muslims in El Paso, TX. Keith was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church over a decade ago to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today he is the author of the best-selling “Jesus Un” series of books, including “Jesus Unforsaken: Substituting Divine Wrath With Unrelenting Love” which is available now on Amazon.