I’m sure there are many people you can think of who you would not want to be your enemy. Navy Seals, mob bosses, the President, and Chuck Norris come to my mind. All of these people have something in common: power. Whether it be skill, position, money, or the people they’re associated with (“I know a guy”), all of the people on that list have something that gives them power over others. And if they have power over others, they can make others suffer. Isn’t this the reason why we don’t want these people to be our enemies?
This is the same reason why we shouldn’t want God as our enemy, except on a much larger scale. Where these people may use their power to cause us to suffer unjustly, however, this is never the case with God. As sinners, our very nature is in rebellion against God. Humanity is dead set on usurping God’s authority over our lives in order to become our own gods. We made ourselves his enemies with our sin, and what’s worse we don’t even care to be reconciled to him. We think we’re better off living under the illusion that we’re free to pursue our own way. But when we read 2 Corinthians 5:18, “…God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself”, we discover that God took the initiative to make us his friends when we were still shaking our fists at him. God is the only offended party in this relationship, and we are the ones doing the offending, yet God did everything necessary to remove the cause of the conflict between us (our sin) when he sent Jesus to die in our place. Now, for those who trust in Jesus, we have been reconciled to God. This is not just a judicial reconciliation wherein we receive legal benefits because a dispute has been settled. Instead, this is a reconciliation that gives us God himself…. this reconciliation give us relationship.
Why does the doctrine of reconciliation matter for you today? It matters because we find ourselves in conflict with other people on a fairly regular basis. In those times when you are at odds with another person, the love of God in making you a friend when you were previously his enemy should completely change the way you handle those conflicts. Are you the kind of person who waits for the other person to make the first move in pursuing reconciliation? Perhaps, you’re the kind of person who thinks things will just blow over, so you try and wait out the conflict. If we truly grasp the gravity of what God did in sending his Son to reconcile us to himself, then we, like God, will be peacemakers who initiate reconciliation. Are you in conflict with someone right now? Own your sin, confess it, and humbly ask forgiveness, then ask if there’s anything else you need to confess. Like God, do everything necessary to create peace.