What is reconciliation and why you should care

I did a quick search for the definition of reconciliation on the internet, and here’s what I found: the restoration of friendly relations. That seems to be the goal in our society today. Reconciliation of one kind or another. The major differences, though, stem from who we need to be reconciled to and how we go about doing that. I can understand all of this confusion outside of the church, but the idea of who exactly we need to be reconciled to and how (which I thought was quite clear) has heartbreakingly even seeped into the church. Thus the reason why I’m writing this post.

It seems to me that social justice warriors in and out of the church find of paramount importance that each person around us must be reconciled one to another. Obviously, there is definite value in aspiring to that goal. To my understanding, how that’s to be done is by recognizing differences in what everyone has, and those that are in power (i.e. the oppressors) are to confess/repent of perceived and/or actual injustices to their victims (i.e. the oppressed). Since the ones with most power and control have traditionally been whites (most specifically, white males) in our culture, they must repent of their power, which is tied up in their skin color, in order to be reconciled to those that are marginalized and therefore victims of that power, such as brown or black-skinned people. The claim is that the system has been rigged to benefit the people in power and we need to dismantle the system in order to be reconciled one to another (i.e. racial reconciliation).

The other “side” of things, specifically in the church, however, would argue that reconciliation between people can not be achieved until there is reconciliation between God and us. And that can’t happen without a change of heart, by first recognizing our sinful natures, repenting of our individual sin, and accepting the free gift of salvation that Christ has given us, no matter what our skin color happens to be. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). When we walk in the freedom that Christ gives to us by living our lives in obedience to His Word (rather than the impulses of our human nature), we can then be reconciled to our fellow humans. Our spiritual systems are rigged and we need to repent of our sin to be reconciled to the God of the Universe (i.e. spiritual/biblical reconciliation).

So who’s right? In a way, both are in their own way, but when you get down to it, their focuses are mutually exclusive. Again, not that both don’t have some merit. They do. But as Believers, we must be most concerned with what Christ was most concerned with. As Jesus said in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” It wasn’t to go and change all of the government systems to help the poor. It wasn’t to make everyone have equity (i.e. equal outcomes). It was to open the eyes and hearts of the people to repent of their sin and to accept the free gift of God’s love through the sacrifice of Christ. If that doesn’t come first, all other efforts to reconcile ourselves one to another will be twisted at best, and likely to be harmful and destructive at worst.

Does that mean there aren’t any injustices that we need to be concerned about as Believers? Obviously, absolutely not! It’s undeniable that the LORD was concerned with justice for the poor and marginalized. Of course He cares for all of His creation! And as the Church, we are to help those that we can, while sharing the Good News of the gospel. We’ve all heard the fact that you can’t eat a bible, so we must deal with the injustices that caused that hunger. I agree! However, the specific injustices that are being called out right now need to be based on objective truth and facts, not emotion and subjective experiences that are so prevalent right now. How can we obtain justice when it’s not based on objective truth? That wouldn’t be justice, would it? Objective truth recognizes the sin that we are responsible for as well. I’m not denying there are times when people are victimized through no fault of their own. But there are also many times when the responsibility of injustice is not so clear cut, and objectively is not the fault of solely one person, let alone one ethnicity based on skin color.

I remember being told as a child that my grandfather worked incredibly hard when he came to this country. That he accomplished much, considering his age (he was 50 when he came to Indiana from Puerto Rico) despite having to work in less than desirable conditions and facing a significant amount of obstacles in his life, including having very little formal education and being a Hispanic working in the steel industry in Gary, IN in the 1960’s. He didn’t have anyone to help him, such as the whites that were around him. They “knew” people. It was easier for them. Not for him. Not for us. They got the jobs because they were white. The system was set against us Latinos and/or people of color. That’s how it was and always will be; that was my paradigm.

To be clear, my grandfather WAS a hard worker. I am so proud of what he did and the example he gave of working through many difficulties successfully. But the thing is, he WASN’T alone. LOTS of people have worked hard, with lots of different skin colors. I remember the first time I heard of how a friend of mine had a grandparent who had very little education and worked hard as well. Difficult circumstances. Not an easy life. Nothing handed to them. Sounds familiar, right? But they were white. I literally had no idea. That was a huge paradigm shift for me.

The bottom line is that this thing called life is difficult for EVERYONE. The human race. You know why? Because of sin. Are there unfair advantages? YOU BET! Of course there are! We’d have to be blind to say otherwise. There is an AMERICAN privilege (who’s proud and THANKFUL to be an American?). There’s a pretty privilege. There’s an athletic privilege. There’s “being born into wealth” privilege. There’s a healthy privilege. THAT’S LIFE! Remember the story of the talents in Matt 25:14-30? The owner gave 3 of his servants 3 different amounts of money to manage. Wait, WHAT?? How is that FAIR? Ahem. Again, it’s not fair. But that’s not the point of the parable. We are to do the best with what we’ve been given. Period.

At the end of the day, there will never be equity. We all make different choices with different results. And that’s OK! Of course, we may have to deal with the effects of other’s decisions in our lives. Some may refer to that as being a victim of their circumstances with very real and more often than not, negative consequences. But a better and more accurate way of thinking of it is the receiver of the will of God. To repeat: I’m not saying we shouldn’t address the wrongs that are perpetrated against us and/or others. We should deal with them. But we also shouldn’t live as victims, especially not as Believers in Christ. I’ve said this before and I’ll keep on sayin’ it: We have little to no control over what happens to us but we can control how we react. We can choose not to be a victim but instead respond to the call to repent of our sin and accept the gift offered by Christ, living lives according to His Word. Reconciliation of any other kind can’t ever succeed if we don’t first take care of being spiritually reconciled to God. Can I hear an Amen?

I encourage you to share the hope of the gospel! Seek out justice for the poor and marginalized! Walk humbly (in MHM statement socks, preferably!) before the LORD. And love the LORD by walking in obedience to His Word (Isa 1:17-20). Who’s with me?


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  1. Nancy Lazer 4 years ago

    Amen! I totally agree.

    My pastor uses a triangle to demonstrate the reconciliation process. Our Lord is the top point on the triangle. Everyone starts down at the horizontal base. As we study God’s word, and apply it to our lives we move up the sides. The closer we get to the Lord the closer we get to each other.

    Jesus has given us ALL the answers to ALL life’s problems in his word. It is up to each of us to take responsibility for our own lives by studying his word.

    Here are some truths that we can apply…

    Treat people like we want to be treated
    Love the unloveable
    Forgive the unforgivable
    Be grateful
    Receive the Lord’s love

    These things are not always easy to do on our own, but with God’s help “all things are possible”.

    The problem is sin. Nothing is going to change unless we recognize, confront and accept our own sin in our own hearts, and invite Jesus into the process.

    He is the only one who solved our sin problem. As God he is the only one who could. We have to repent, ask Jesus’ for forgiveness and turn from our wicked ways…

    Christ over culture.

    Culture over Christ is Idolatry. Anything we put before Christ is idolatry…money, race, position, intellect, family, our very own will…the list goes on and on…

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.

    It’s about all about his will and doing things his way.

    Our free will gets us into big trouble if we are not careful.

    • Author
      Michelle Lazor 4 years ago

      ABSOLUTELY!!!! Love every word you shared. I pray we can share this message (Christ’s message!) with others and that heart’s begin to open to accept His Truth!

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