Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Life Is A Ministry Of Reconciliation

I've wanted to come back to the topic I brought up a few days ago. If you don't know what I brought up go here and scroll to the bottom of the post.

First I have to give you a short trip to where my head was a few weeks ago. I wrote a post I didn't publish because of the negative attitude I was having regarding christian people. Any time there is bitterness in my heart toward my brothers and sisters, whether I agree with them or not, I am in sin. Worse than that, I was letting their opinions quench my passion for my Savior and my intimate relationship with him. He showed his great love for me by doing something he has to do a lot to me. He came in to the messy table of my life, piled high with emotional grievances against others, doubt about myself, worldly distractions to avoid the issue at heart, and took his hand so to speak and swiped them all onto the floor. What was left was what he put on the table in front of me, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20:

"Now all these things are from God (this is in reference to the prior verse about the new things come in Christ as apposed to the old things of the flesh), who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of :Christ, be reconciled to God."

This spoke many things to me. (1) I was looking at the flesh, at man, and I was frustrated. (2) I was not reconciled to God in my heart because I was letting baggage get in the way. (3) I was not keeping the main thing the main thing....that being, the ministry of reconciliation which required the forgiving of man's faults and my own and like Christ, not holding them against them or myself.
So, first God used it to startle me....BE RECONCILED ALICIA!
Next, he used it to reconcile my heart to my fellow men.
Last, he began to show me the beauty of the simplicity of this truth in relationships.
The beauty of the ministry of reconciliation. That ministry that Paul here says we have been given, and that we are to be ambassadors of.
How often in life we let so much crowd in and loose the main simplicity of life. The burden that is light and easy that Christ brought to us to carry. He came to do one thing, reconcile humanity to God. We should, I should reflect his example and be reconciled and proclaim reconciliation.
Now, to understand this, we have to remember the main problem in the gospel message. The Grand Canyon of sorts between Man and God. The separation that sin has caused. We are first to be burdened with this for every man made by God, every person walking the planet. Second, we are to trickle down this concept to our everyday relationships. We are to be in a mindset of reconciliation and I present to you that it is the opposite of the one thing the enemy comes to do....divide what was meant to be harmoniously together.
THIS is how this effects and is applicable to parenting. Even as I write (And I do so mainly for my own benefit as I've had a hard time sorting out what the Lord has been trying to show me. It's like some big math problem that I'm not understanding and he is trying to map out for my feeble mind one fragment at time) I struggle to explain the concept clearly although it is amazingly is deeply complex as well.
I said that I was asking God what the key element was that made relationships between parent and child turn out right. Please go back and read that paragraph as I don't want to make this any longer than it all ready is!:) "..and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,..." Hmmmm, a ministry, given to me, of reconciling. What does it take to reconcile to God? Humility, repentance, admission of need, admission of sin, burden for closeness to God.....on and on. What does it take to be reconciled to people? Humility, repentance, loosing the right to be right, caring more about harmony than being right, repentance of sin of wanting to be right and in control, forgiveness of faults done against me, making the relationship more important than what I think is the way things aught to be, a burden for closeness.
Somewhere in here is the key to the way I want to parent. I believe that the enemy divides many families in many different ways. He will use the world and the influence of it to divide. He will use legalism and the desire of a parent to control their child to divide. He will use selfishness and everyone wanting to just be right to divide. He has a pocket full of tricks with one mission in mess up what God meant to be reconciled. God meant for us to be reconciled to himself. He meant for a husband and wife to be reconciled. He meant for a child and a parent to be reconciled. He means for the body of Christ to be reconciled and he means for us to call out to the lost to be reconciled as well.
We loose reconciliation with our children when we want to be right above wanting God's will for them. We loose it when we reflect law instead of joy for God's glory. Because the fact is, and this is the very thing I am longing to grasp and shove down into my soul as deep as it will go, is that God's word stands alone. I can present God's word to my child (as I aught) and leave the rest up to God! It sounds so simple but it works practically to the very nitty gritty of life. I don't have to be right, God's word all ready is. It's when I fight to gain control of the situation that my sinful nature rares it's head and DIVIDES me and my child. RECONCILIATION comes when I present the word of truth, pray for God to use it, take a deep breath and let Him be sovereign. Oh, if I could just grasp that. My duty is to reflect the joy, the grace, the passion God has for reconciliation in all things and for all peoples. I DON'T NEED TO BE ON A CAMPAIGN TO BE RIGHT. That campaign started with the great commission and it's truths are recorded for all of mankind and applies to all of mankind.
Is this making sense to anyone? I hope so. I hope I have not just blurted endlessly without coherent truth shining through.
I am still working out the details of this and I think it is only the beginning of finding the answer as to where things go wrong.
One thing I do know is that relationships are the most important thing on earth beyond reconciliation to God. People are eternal one way or the other. When we put our own ideas beyond what scripture says or on top of what scripture says, or if we present the truth without joy and passion for God's glory above our own desire for control, we cause division in what is meant to be reconciled. Humility is the cornerstone of reconciliation. It is the very letting go of self and what self thinks, wants, and desires to have. It is the hardest element. It is the full leaning on God to work HIS work in people and to stop thinking we bring something to the table. What we do, if anything, is part really of what HE is doing. If we get in the way of that by pushing too hard, we are still, though it may all look good and righteous to us, we are still getting in the way.
Our relationships should mean more to us than our opinions. They should be worked on and cultivated with a spirit of reconciliation at the cost of ourselves. God does not need us to be right with our kids, he needs us to speak the truth of His word and then let it speak for itself. He does not need us to push, and fret, and condemn, but he needs us to encourage, love, and inspire with the great power of his joyful gospel.....his formula for blessing, not our formula for propriety.

Whew, that was intense. I need a break now.


tricia said...

I desire this so much. This has been a burden on my heart lately, also. I have typed many posts and deleted them, because they just were not right. Thank you for posting what I have been trying to say. Love it!

We need to embrace our differences and let God use them to glorify Him. We need to stop focusing on trying to be right and making everyone look just like us. This just divides us. God is the only truth and right way. We need to focus on showing God's love for each other and supporting each other on whatever God calls each of us to do.

Puddles said...

Thanks for commenting on my Blog!

Some very deep thought here. I do recall Jesus saying to love him with all our heart, soul, MIND, and strength.

I will be reading to see what God shows you. I wonder... is there a right answer? Freewill is strange thing to figure out... but God didn't want robots.