They were driving down the expressway on their way to work. He usually dropped his wife off downtown, then went to his job. They were talking about an issue he was having with someone. He was not happy and was going to take action. His wife, tiring of his ranting, turned to him and said, “You’re not God’s minister of justice, you know.” Ouch. Have you ever thought about how to reconcile relationships?
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
He hadn’t quite heard those words “God’s minister of justice” before. He thought that was his superpower. He was the corrector of wrongs and the answer to the mistaken. But he was doing the very opposite of what God was asking him to do. And he didn’t realize something. So often, the road of our lives is littered with those with whom we have failed to reconcile.
In this passage, Paul, the author, makes two very simple but essential points, and he makes each twice.
God Reconciles Us
First, he says that God reconciled us to himself through Christ. And then he repeats it when he says that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ. To be reconciled means to be brought into harmony. God brings us into harmony with Him through Christ. It is only through Christ that we can be reconciled. So, we were opposed to God but are now in harmony with him.
Second, he tells us that God gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Then says that God has committed to us the message of reconciliation. So, the idea is this: you were reconciled to God, now help reconcile others. Because we are now in harmony with God, we can desire that for others and can offer it to them. Grace begets grace.
But remember, being reconciled to God also means being reconciled to one another. Love God and love your neighbor. We have to do both to get it right. We cannot be in constant conflict with others and reconciled to God. We are not God’s ministers of justice. It’s not our job to correct everyone’s failures, just like I thought while driving; uh, I mean just like that husband thought while he was driving. We are not the Jesus Police.
How To Reconcile Relationships
We are to view everyone in light of the reconciliation that we have experienced. When we want to correct, we should seek to connect; connect with people, and connect those with God. Make yourself a reminder to connect with others. It could be a post-it note. It could be a bobblehead Jesus on your dashboard. Or, it could be a sharp comment from your witty wife.
Why This Matters: we are called to be ministers of reconciliation. We are to make people new, not make people negligible. And that’s why the verse prior states that anyone in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone; the new has come. We are changed, and so we are to change others.
Our angry husband looked back at all of the broken relationships in his past and decided to change his perspective. And, oh, was there a lot of wreckage. Since he had been reconciled, he could reconcile with others. He could also help them reconcile with God.
So, he committed to making this adjustment: he learned to see others in need of connection, not correction. This is the first step in how to reconcile relationships.
This is one that kind of hits me right between the eyes today. It certainly cuts the heart open as well.