Wednesday, December 22, 2010


“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation…” 2 Corinthians 5: 17-18

What does it mean to be reconciled?

It means a complete restoration of the relationship we had with someone before the hurt or sin took place. It means that things have been put back to their original state. It means that we can move forward and not hold onto grudges or use the past to emotionally beat someone up. It goes beyond merely forgiving someone and then avoiding them, but letting go of the pain and seeing that person as you once did.

I think that depending on the circumstances, sometimes this is possible in our relationships and sometimes it isn’t. We have all been hurt. But when we are hurt we need to decide if the person who hurt us is being like St. Peter or like Judas Iscariot. St. Peter denied Jesus three times, but he was acting out of weakness and he was sorry for what he had done. Judas betrayed Jesus and was unrepentant, ultimately choosing suicide over reconciliation. After Jesus rose from the dead, He and St. Peter were reconciled on the shore of Galilee as St. Peter declared his love for Christ three times.

Some people hurt us and they are not repentant and they were malicious and they had intent to hurt us and it might be the best thing to forgive them and keep our distance. But others can hurt us because they were too tired or hungry; maybe they got up on the wrong side of the bed, or they are in pain themselves. It doesn’t mean what they did was not wrong. It doesn’t justify what they did. And it doesn’t mean that what they did was not hurtful. But it means that their intent was thoughtless or done out of weakness and that reconciliation is more possible. But are we willing to restore this relationship?

I think as people of faith, we have an obligation to reconcile when possible. Why? Because this is how God deals with us. God does not simply forgive us and then move on and away from us when we have sinned and repented. He does not keep His distance from us, as if somehow we were tainted. No, in fact He loves us so much that He continues to draw us near to Him, even after we have sinned, even before we have repented. And when we do repent and atone for our sins, God restores us to right relationship with Him. We become new creations. Our atonement or reparation for our sins is not to help God forgive us, but it helps us re-orient our hearts and minds and bodies back to the Source. It is part of our reconciling with God.

What Good News this is! That not only does He forgive any sin we are repentant of, but that we are restored completely to Him as His children. And as His children, how can we not try to imitate Him as we relate to our brothers and sisters in faith?

Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and restore my relationship with You today. Please give me the grace to forgive anyone who has hurt me and reconcile as many relationships that are possible. Amen.

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