I recently had an encounter with a friend that erupted in immense discord. The thought that we can grow fond of one another in fellowship is relatively apparent however as iron sharpens iron, there is difficulty and strife at times that can cause the growing pains of a relationship to become strained. This example is a micro.
A macro example or larger scale example of this I have seen with a church I had grown up in. There was an extreme trial within the leadership of the church which led the senior pastor to step down from ministry, thus disappointing a church body that had grown closely in fellowship and relationship with one another. This particular struggle caused immense damage as the once foundational trust that was developed among the believers in this particular church body separated the church itself and over the course of a few years caused the church membership to begin a steady decrease. After the course of roughly five years, the church hit a major roadblock and eventually completely fell apart.
Trusting in God’s providence and plan in these situations are imperative, as His ways are not our ways nor are His plans our plans (Isa 55:8.) His thoughts are always greater, so much so that His omniscience far exceeds our understanding in an infinite measure.
The point of all of this has caused me to reflect on reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 speaks of this reconciliation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
This particular passage is where it starts. It speaks of the newness of life we receive when we give our lives to Christ and accept Him as Lord and Savior. In doing this, we are to put off the old man, with its sinful nature and grow in relationship with God, allowing Him to work within us to fully magnify Him (Rom 6:6; Col. 3:9-10; Eph. 4:22.)
As we continue; 5:18 reads, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;”
The word itself used in this particular passage is the Greek word, katallasso (καταλλάσσω ); which means to change mutually; to compound a difference. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance states the following, “Katallasso properly denotes to change; exchange, hence of person, to change from enmity to friendship, to reconcile.”
The Oxford Dictionary cites that the word reconcile comes from the Latin reconciliāre which means to make good again, repair.
It was the fact that the Father did send the Son so that we may be reconciled to Him (John 17:18; 1 John 4:14). There truly was no other way for man to receive salvation as apart from Christ, there is absolutely no hope. Let’s consider this as Paul writes,
…that is, in Christ God was reconcilingthe world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:19-20)
It is often difficult to approach a situation in which one person had wronged another. Whether in a larger scare or smaller scale, it actually makes no difference. What however is imperative is that the believer understands that with Christ and faith in Him, He has given us the ability to seek Him for the strength to forgive, to grow and to shed light on what may have been so dark.
It may not be easy. It never really is and it may take time to process the ability to reconcile or forgive a situation. I do however believe that if one were to let God work within the heart of a believer, one can be freed from the bondage of such a burden and seek the reconciliation that is offered by grace through faith in Christ Jesus (Matt 11:30; Eph 2:8)