I am a minister of reconciliation
I’m continuing the series on: How God Sees Us, which commenced here.
“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 people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
God was, “Not counting people’s sins against them.” Sin separated people from God but God is seeking to reconcile people back into relationship with himself. People sin because they are not connected to God and not living in union with him. They are trying to meet their own needs, often in the best way they know how.
A friend of mine was being a minister of reconciliation to a young man who had been into drugs, had been in and out of youth detention, was unemployed, struggle with depression and was living rough. He said, “I don’t need God, I want to be free to make my own choices, do my own thing.”
My friend said, “So how that’s working for you?”
Clearly it wasn’t working very well. He was aimlessly living to please himself and insisting on living in own way, but it wasn’t making him happy or giving him contentment. We are ministers of reconciliation when we demonstrate by our lives there is a better way to live then just pleasing ourselves. Always insisting on our own way can leave us feeling isolated and in constant conflict with others. We are Christ’s ambassadors, we live in a way that is pleasing to him. In the world, ambassadors are chosen to represent their countries and speak to others on behalf of their government. God enables us to represent him and speak on his behalf. God wants to use us to reconcile the world to himself. As we seek to draw people into a relationship with God we know we don’t do it alone. He has placed us in a body so together we can show the world, how good he is.
Sportspeople are often called ambassadors, which is why it always bothers me when I see Australian sportspeople behaving badly on the world stage. Tennis players who destroy their racquets, cricket players who cheat, basketball players who get into a brawl. I want to tell the watching world, “Don’t judge Australia, by our sporting stars.”
As Christians, what are we saying to the world if we behave badly?
We’re probably not going to destroy tennis racquets, or get into a public brawl. However, we may behave badly in other ways. Are we punctual and reliable? Do we do what we say we will do?
We need to represent God well and give people a good impression of God and his kingdom. And that means fulfilling our responsibilities. Another area is how we speak to others, even to our spouses and children. Do we do it, in a way that honours Christ? “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
Our words can encourage or discourage another. It’s easy to focus on all the things that are wrong with the world. It’s easy to become self-absorbed and self-focussed and ignore the need of others. It takes effort to notice when our children, when our spouses, when our friends are doing something kind and compassionate and to say thank you and let them know that we’ve noticed. When we do, we are being Christ’s ambassador, because God notices when we show love and compassion to others.
God has given us a significant role to play in his kingdom. We are his ambassadors, and he gives us his Sprit to enable us to fulfil our role.