Is Desiring Reconciliation Optional for Christians?

Devotional Thought of the Day:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

11  As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die? Ezekiel 33:11 (NLT) 

23  “Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign LORD. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. Ezekiel 18:23 (NLT)

9  The Lord is not being slow in carrying out his promises, as some people think he is; rather is he being patient with you, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NJB)

18  And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19  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. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NLT)

824         Do you feel as if goodness and absolute truth have been deposited with you, and therefore that you have been invested with a personal title or right to uproot evil at all costs? You will never solve anything like that, but only through Love and with love, remembering that Love has forgiven you and still forgives you so much! (1)

Therefore it is God’s ultimate purpose that we suffer harm to befall no man, but show him all good and love; and, as we have said it is specially directed toward those who are our enemies.  (2) 

It seems like yesterday I had to quote the passages above from Ezekiel a half dozen times, and should have quoted them a dozen more.

In each, people were rejoicing over brokenness.  Some were larger than life, as they rejoiced over victories in war. Some were more organized, as people planned to celebrate larger divisions between people groups. (including the Reformation.)  Some were far more personal, as people encouraged each other to rejoice in division, to rejoice in broken relationships. There were even a couple of situations were those trying to promote reconciliation were attacked and mocked.

Yes I know, that in some of these cases, pain is involved,  But what about those who encourage the joy?  What about those who welcome the brokenness, who encourage it?

It is even more tragic that in each case, the people involved were leaders in the church.  Some of the brokenness was in the midst of the church, Traumatic and tragic, this lack of desire for reconciliation is!

And it is not Christian.  It is not imitating Christ.  It is not being obedient to His giving us the mission of reconciling people to Him, as Paul points out.  For in reconciling them to Him, we find them reconciled to us.

Life isn’t a personal crusade to stamp out evil.  That only turns us into evil people, as we place ourselves in the place of God.

Life isn’t about rejoicing over division, over the bad things which happen to those we consider enemies, adversaries, or just pain in the ass’s.

God has told us to love them, to work for their good, to see them reconciled to Christ.  For that is His will, even though every person who is brought to reconciliation was once God’s enemy, who chose evil over good, and hate over love.

This blog isn’t easy to write.  I have my own people I struggle with, who I have to grow in Christ to love and seek to reconcile with.  But let me tell you, the joy that is there when we do… is amazing.

I’ll leave you with this blessing, knowing that it pleases God when people reconcile:

20  Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— 21  may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen! Hebrews 13:20-21 (NLT)

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 3390-3393). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

(2) The Large Catechism of Martin Luther.

 

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on August 12, 2014, in Devotions, The Furrow and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Frank and Shan Haider

    Pastor Parker, I was reading and pondering in the Formula of Concord, Epitome XI. God’s Eternal Foreknowledge and reflecting on Ezekiel 33:11, 18:23, 2 Peter 3:9 and Romans 11:32 God has placed all people into the prison of their disobedience so that he could be merciful to all people. Those words helped me with a problem and I hope they help you. Shan Haider Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church

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