Nothing in the Way of Being Reconciled?!

written by Chris Hartenstein
Welcome back to week two of our exploration of reconciliation. First, let’s review, quickly. We said that reconciliation, in its simplest, form is the “making things right” between two people. It is personal, intimate, and is ultimately meant to restore relationships!  

Of the three types of restoration we briefly overviewed, we will look at two this week. Both are directly tied to one another through the great commandment!

God to man: God reaches down and pays the debt created by man’s offense so that man can be in a renewed relationship with Himself again.
 
Man to man: After reconciling to God, humans must be reconciled to each other. God designed human relationships and they must be renewed.

Before we get started let's look at the great commandment in Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV)

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

There is a very important hidden meaning in these verses and it's vital we see it. Jesus is restating the foundation on which truth stands; Love God with everything you have, and love your neighbor. Now we love the first part, but often we justify not nailing the second part and often place blame on others. The problem is this - Jesus is saying, “Hey, if you love me, love others” but He is also saying “if you don't love overs, don't think that you love me.” They are in tandem and are not mutually exclusive. This is vital because it means that as we are reconciled to God, we are accountable to reconcile with each other. One is meant to be the outflow of the other. If I have been reconciled, I am to be a reconciler.  

If we break that down, it means; as I have been loved, forgiven, shown grace and mercy, sacrificed for, died for, raised up, clothed, fed, healed, cared for, I am to offer the same to others. Period. What God has done for me, He expects me to do for others. This is a hard teaching and is why when Jesus taught this and later Paul expounded on it many folks decided to “turn away.” They wanted all the good stuff for themselves but were unwilling to offer it to others. This is important for us all to press into. Why?  Because we are to be about our Father’s business and because it is good for us. When there is conflict, hatred, enmity with others, we carry that! It's not freeing or life-giving. It eats us alive from the inside out. That’s not what our good Dad wants for His beloved sons and daughters and God went first in reconciling us to himself so we would know how it's done! We have an example in Jesus’ life. Now we need to step up and follow His lead!  Yes, it’s hard but it’s so good!    

Calibration questions:
- How does it feel to have been reconciled to God as a son or daughter? When you think of all your heavenly Dad has done for you, what wells up in your heart?
- Who might your Dad be asking you to reconcile with?
- What is standing in the way? Where do you need his help?  
- Go do it!

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