One of the best ways to show a genuine concern and love for others is to ask people questions about their family relationships. This past week, I asked a co-worker what she was doing to celebrate Mother’s Day. The question immediately evoked a visceral reaction. As happens all too often, this lady and her mother did not see eye to eye and she definitely was not going to see her or celebrate Mother’s Day with her own mother.
After apologizing and lamenting the current state of her relationship to her mother, I mentioned something to the effect that I always try to help people reconcile. She made it clear to me that she had attempted many times to reconcile in the past with her mother and it was clear her mother had no intention to reconcile with her. Thereby, no Mother’s Day celebration was going to occur for this lady on Mother’s Day!
While the above scenario is a quite dismal one, it is far from uncommon. Reconciliation is a difficult road to traverse and for too many, a road that is untraveled.
I love the first definition that Noah Webster lists for reconciliation:
RECONCI’LE, v.t. [L. reconcilio; re and concilio; con and calo, to call, Gr. The literal sense is to call back into union.]
1. To conciliate anew; to call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated; to restore to friendship or favor after estrangement; as, to reconcile men or parties that have been at variance.
Life often causes me to ponder as to how God handles situations…and what the Bible has to say about them. There are three forms of the word “reconcile” found in the Word of God. They are found as follows:
Reconcile – 5x
Reconciled – 6x
Reconciliation – 8x
One of the definitive passages on reconciliation in the Bible is found in Colossians 1:
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
Notice with me an important truth – reconciliation does not come easy. Verse twenty explains that Jesus reconciled all things unto himself by making “peace through the blood of his cross.” Verse twenty-one and twenty-two emphasize the fact that he reconciled us “in the body of his flesh through death.” Ouch!
Romans 5:10 states, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…” Ouch again!
In other words, reconciliation involves pain and often death. Those are words that most of us shrink from. We don’t like pain. We want nothing to do with anything that causes death. We associate pain with a lack of God’s blessing. Because far too few of us live a crucified life, we have a hard time with anything to do with death – the death of self, the death of our own way, the death of our own opinions.
So here is the question…who have you not reconciled with due to the pain involved? Who in your life do you need to be reconciled with and yet it is going to entail you dying to self in order to achieve that reconciliation?
Pain? Yes. Death? Most likely. Christ likeness? Absolutely.