Reconciliation is hard. Make no mistake. Reconciliation does not mean “pretend it never happened.” Nor is it a simple “I forgive you,” important though that may be.
Reconciliation is not required when the failure minor. Five minutes late for supper? A simple “I’m sorry!” should do (unless there is a lot of history to be factored in). Reconciliation comes into play when the break in the relationship is real and substantial and painful.
Paul reminds us in Sunday’s epistle lesson that God “has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” (Click here to read it.) He tells it like it is a great privilege entrusted to us, because nothing we do comes closer to direct and tangible participation in the life and work og God. It is one of the holiest things we do! As we know, the great and truly rewarding tasks are never the easy ones.
This ministry of reconciliation requires hard work, honesty, risk and patience. I believe that as Paul tells us of this ministry, he means both that we are responsible for seeking reconciliation with those with whom our relationships are broken, but also that we are to help bring about reconciliation between others.
Is there anyone in your life with whom your relationship is broken? What have you done to heal it? Are you prepared to confess your wrong? Are you prepared to apologize, even if you don’t feel you have been in the wrong? Are you willing to hear and acknowledge the other person’s pain? Reconciliation means all that, and more.
Do you have any friends or relatives who are in broken relationships? Where can you take the risk of helping? Who might you be an ear to? What difficult truth might you need to speak to one you love and care for?
These are hard questions, with harder answers and only you can answer them in your own life. I do not promise, nor does the Scripture promise, that your efforts will be received joyfully. But what I do believe is that you will grow in faith, in confidence and in your ability to hold strong and healthy relationships in your life. Pray carefully, and take a risk.
This column appeared in the March 31, 2019 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.