Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. II Corinthians 5:17-21
The ministry of reconciliation – this is the major theme of the Bible. God provided a means for us to be reconciled to himself through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Jesus, the Son of God came to earth, lived a perfect, sinless life, died on the cross as the perfect Passover lamb so that all of our sins were forgiven, so that we all have the opportunity to be reconciled, to come into right relationship with the almighty God of the universe.
I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes this is too awesome for words and can be beyond my understanding. Sometimes a human illustration of this kind of forgiveness, compassion, and love can help to give me a clearer vision of God and his desire to reconcile us to himself.
In Lancaster County PA, October 2006 Charles Roberts entered an Amish one room schoolhouse, sent the boys out, shot 10 Amish girls, killing 5 of them, and then killed himself. The families of the injured and killed girls forgave the shooter, attended his private funeral service, shielded the family from reporters, came and offered condolences and offered friendship to various members of the shooter’s family. The Amish community and individual families grieved over the loss of these girls, over the trauma all of the students experienced and for some of the students – continue to experience. But these Amish families reached out immediately to the shooter’s family in love, in forgiveness, and in friendship, in the midst of their grief, and they continue today.
Paul calls us ambassadors for Christ, we are to give the world around us the message of ministry of reconciliation. God offers us forgiveness; He asks us to forgive others. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on us, live at peace with everyone,” Romans 12:18. I remember how amazed the news reporters were at how the Amish families were so compassionate and caring toward the Roberts family. I am sure each of them had hearts full of grief, and hurt, but they were able to look beyond their own pain to see another family who also lost a son, a father, a husband that day. God has forgiven each of us, a great deal, we need to look beyond our own hurt, our own fears so that we can show compassion and love to others.
By Grace Hunter