“Forgiveness is not a decision, it is a process”
(DR. CHARLOTTE VANOYEN-WITVLIET)
The summer of 2021 has been interesting for all of us. Not quite like 2020 when we were trying to get used to living in a global pandemic, we are now trying to accept when and how it should end. We are all in a different place as we grapple, and the wrestling match could go on for some time, as our humanity shows more and more. There is a pandemic which brings out the best and worst of everyone, but then there are so many other things that impact our outlook going forward…
…As I write this, the Taliban is once again setting up rule in Afghanistan, almost the minute after Western military forces leave the country.
…Haiti just experienced another devastating earthquake.
…Throughout this summer the outcry of the First Nations people is heard. It took finding 1000’s of bodies of children in unmarked graves at former residential schools throughout Canada to get people listening. We are now more and more aware of what the Truth and Reconciliation commission has said for years. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/truth-and-reconciliation-94-calls-to-action-1.3362258)
…And we are still arguing about getting vaccinated and wearing masks in some places…
Reconciliation is a simple complex idea. I spout about it quite often and then truly struggle to live it out. Our relationships rely fully on how we view reconciliation in our lives. Regardless of the type of crisis we find ourselves in, whether it were a badly placed wording to a friend, or a response to another’s hurt in trauma, reconciliation is the process we engage in. I love the idea of discovering truth and reconciling where things are not abiding by the truth, but my practice takes practice.
“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 5:19, NLT)
The complexity of reconciliation is that we are all fallible in this life. We hurt each other, make mistakes, and impose our intentions on the lives of others. I believe we are designed for goodness and capable of unspeakable evil. All too often we allow the latter to take hold and give the opposite of creation power. Some translations of the above passage refer to us as ‘ministers of reconciliation’. An actual role within the kingdom of God to bring his truth and reconciliation to a broken world.
That is no small task. The very work of Christ himself. And we are a part of it being accomplished.
Forgiveness and reconciliation are active words that require work and attentiveness. If they were easy we would all experience their perfection in life. That is clearly not the case as we endure everything from disagreement to genocide in the world around us. The call to reconciliation is not an add-on but a practice to be honed and held, so we take it into every conversation and all the moments we might make trivial otherwise. God’s desire is that we are more about reconciling the earth to his kingdom, and less about building empires on broken relationships.
As the summer comes closer to an end, may you feel a renewed sense of urgency in your call to lead out as a minister of reconciliation.