From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5: 16-21
Our human point of view is formed with blinders on. We see superficial characteristics, are quick to judge and even faster to jump to conclusions. What would it take for us to see all people as God sees us, as beloved children of God, as created beings who have value and worth?
At first, the Apostle Paul sees Jesus from a human point of view. It takes a blinding lightning strike to drop the shackles from his eyes. What will it take to free us from our prejudices?
Paul tells us that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. We are joined to Christ in our baptisms, but frequently we don’t act like it. Rather than reconciliation, too often we stir up anger and cast aspersions on others. The political rhetoric that fills the airwaves seems to have emboldened people across the country to bypass civility and go straight to blame and verbal assault.
What happened to our being ambassadors for Christ?
Google defines reconciliation as “the restoration of friendly relations.” As Christians, “ambassadors for Christ” as Paul calls us, we are to work for a reconciled world where we give our all to mend relationships that have been broken. Paul goes so far as to write that we are called to be ministers of reconciliation because God has reconciled with God’s self through Christ. Paul does not leave us to our own devices but tells us how to be reconcilers. We must “not count [one another’s] trespasses against them.” This is a necessary ingredient in forgiveness. We forgive one another and reconcile with one another. We do not count wrongs against one another.
Rather than anger, our world needs to know a spirit of reconciliation. Can we be yeast that begins the growth of a great movement of peace? In this season of Lent, let us release the things that make us angry with one another and instead be kind. God forgives the world of our sins. If God is willing to do that, cannot we, as followers of Christ, forgive one another and restore friendly relations with one another?
In that spirit, let us pray together…
Good and gracious God, help us see all those around us through eyes of love and work together for the reconciliation of the world. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who came that we all might be one. Amen.
Annie Franklin is a Second Year M.Div./M.A.C.E student at Union and originally from Morganton, NC. Annie currently serves as a youth intern at First Presbyterian Church in Richmond. She is excited about exploring areas of youth ministry especially in a camp or conference setting.
The Rev. Dr. Fairfax F. Fair (M. Div. 1988) is the Pastor/Head of Staff of the First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Michigan.