How many of our disagreements, misunderstandings, feelings of bitterness, and lack of forgiveness in the body of Christ would disappear if we truly understood that to carry the gospel is be the first to reconcile whether you are the sinner or the sinned against one?
The Apostle uses this beautiful hymn/poem to counter the false teaching in Colossae that devalued Jesus Christ. Paul extols Him and tells the Colossians Jesus Christ is God. That is what we have been looking at these last 5 days and finally in bringing the hymn to a close the Apostle writes, “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1 v 20)
The gospel in this broken world of ours is reconciliation with God, ourselves, other people and creation. Gospel-workers are agents of reconciliation. You cannot hold on to your grudge in one hand and the gospel in the other.
Today I will sit with an Eldership team and interview a Pastoral candidate. One of the questions that will be asked will be on how that Pastor handles conflict? It is such an important question and it is sad that it is necessary to ask it.
It is ironic to me that I live in a world where every day I see first-hand or am told of some sort of conflict within the Church of Jesus Christ and yet at the same time thousands of miles away that same Church of Jesus Christ is suffering in conflict from evil oppressive regimes because they hold to the gospel. One part creates conflict and the other suffers under it.
Our message of reconciliation is weakened and watered down if we fail to be the embodiment of that. This is the challenge to discipleship. The world needs to see reconciliation portrayed but it is struggling to see it because reconciliation is seen at the cross and the Church needs to do more of making that a priority daily visit. This is a costly life. We will find some people hard to like never mind love.
The church should be the inspirational hope to the community because it practices the gospel of reconciliation. We can start today.