To fully engage with the ministry of reconciliation, we must allow our true citizenship as brothers and sisters in Christ to rise to the top
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Cor 5:17-19.As we consider the ministry of reconciliation, we need to do so in full view of knowing that the “blood done signed our name” to the task of reconciliation.
We must always consider the fact that this ministry given to us was not a suggestion. It is not if we have the time to participate or feel like participating in the ministry of reconciliation. We have been gifted, called and commanded to take up the ministry of reconciliation as part of our reconciliation to God.
In order for us to fulfill our call, we must be willing to listen. Reconciliation cannot happen without solidarity. And solidarity will not be obtained without listening. And listening won’t take place if we fail to wonder if it is true …
What if it is true that our country is racially divided?
What if it is true that a white, middle-class male is privileged?
What if it is true that ignoring the issue is a form of silent complacency?
What if it is true that the world needs Christians to step up and fulfill their vocational duty as ministers of reconciliation?*
I think to some extent, evangelicals have forgotten that they have a responsibility to the ministry of reconciliation. This lapse in memory is not confined to just white evangelicals or just black evangelicals. We all have work to do in this area. This is a worthy ministry to be pursued regardless of our own race. We must not pretend that reconciliation touches every aspect of life except race.
In order to fully engage with the ministry of reconciliation, we must allow our true citizenship as brothers and sisters in Christ to rise to the top. When we disengage from this ministry, we move back into a kingdom that allows our citizenship to prioritize reconciliation by what we favor or by what is easiest to do.
The kingdom that we take our marching orders from says we are a new creation.
Any attempt to unite fallen humanity on any basis other than Christ has always failedPart of that newness is a new perspective, a new understanding and a call that says the way we used to think has passed away. With this new understanding, there is no room for the believer not to see the importance of building relationships across racial lines, to have our hearts hurt for our brothers and sisters that endure injustice and for us to move into action to display the godly pattern of reconciliation to a hurting world.
The message of reconciliation always begins with God, yet it encompasses the relationships we have with others. The others is not just a mono circle of influence; it is a community that reflects the diversity of God’s kingdom. It begins with God, because any attempt to unite fallen humanity on any basis other than Christ has always failed. When we are reconciled to God, we become brothers and sisters in Christ, and that is the basis for our unity.
The ministry of reconciliation originates with God. It must be personally experienced by faith, but it is universally inclusive: It is voluntarily accepted and voluntarily shared. The message has been entrusted to us to be given to the world.
Paul exhorts us to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:2-6).
Again, I say we cannot fully live out our responsibility to the ministry of reconciliation if we do not surrender ourselves to the full measure of the ministry of reconciliation, which is multi-ethnic. We must be reconciled to one another but more importantly, we must be willing to do the work of crossing racial lines with understanding in light of God’s truth. It will not always be easy. There will be times that we just do not understand. Misunderstandings will happen. We travel this journey empowered by the Holy Spirit, and there is nothing that He is not able to see us through.
Keep your eyes on Him,
*(Note: Taken from an online article called “The World Needs the Ministry of Reconciliation”)