Reconcile: to restore friendship or harmony; to make consistent or congruous; to cause to submit or accept something unpleasant (Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary)
Conflict is rarely easy to negotiate. Many people avoid it like the plague. It can occupy a lot of our energy whether we are conflicted about a relationship or about the way things are going around the world. Deep conflicts are often stressful and painful. At worst, they are violent and destructive. Yet, at the same time, conflict can be transforming and intensely spiritual. We might even propose conflict to be an open pathway toward revelation and reconciliation.
Conflict is normal. It's part of our human relationships. But, conflict transformation may be a new perspective for us to consider. Many business and professional models use conflict management tools instead of considering a different approach like conflict transformation. Why settle for managing conflict when we can experience transformation through it?
The Apostle Paul has a lot to say about reconciliation. In the New Testament book of Colossians, Paul links our human need for reconciliation with our primary relationship with God. At one time, we were all alienated from God and were enemies of him. But, God, himself reconciled us through Christ. Paul suggests that our atonement is not limited to the one-time sacrifice of Jesus Christ that satisfies our individual debt. He emphasizes atonement as a personal, social and political process of reconciliation and healing. Holiness (being Christ-like) is carried out through people who embody the reconciling love of God and take up residence in real-life problems and relationships--with all the ambiguity they bring.
We begin in new series called Reconcile this Sunday. I pray this series will bring new insights and help equip you to handle conflicts in a God-honoring way whether you are a seasoned pro at handling conflict or someone who is in need to some new tools. I look forward to seeing you in church. You might want to invite someone to come with you so you can start a conversation and learn together.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19 NIV