Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Courage of Reconciliation

Reconciliation is a nice word. It’s a happy concept. Lately in the Church it’s often been linked to crossing racial or cultural lines. But when the rubber meets the road, when it’s time to move reconciliation from concept into action, reconciliation requires courage.

It’s a messy business, because there is no reconciliation without brokenness coming first. No two people see their brokenness the same, and the layers of hurt and interpretations are deep and intertwined and confusing.

It’s a risky business, because parties on both sides are opening themselves to being hurt again, giving one another permission to wound. You risk reputation as people who are not ready to forgive call you reckless or uncaring.

It requires humility, admitting wrongs and relinquishing the right to be right.

Frankly, it’s easier to be cynical or bitter, to believe that you are right and the other is wrong, and to live as though there are some things that the cross of Jesus Christ cannot handle this side of heaven. It’s easier to move on, pretend the hurt doesn’t matter, to not bring things up again. It’s easier to let relationships just fade away and find a way to make life work.

Reconciliation requires courage, believing the cross of Jesus Christ to be bigger than all sin, and that its power extends to the deepest and crappiest places of our hearts. It requires us to believe that as we walk in faith towards the life and forgiveness of Jesus, He will meet us’ to hope that He will show up in our places of fear; to trust that He will supply the many things that we lack.

But as we walk courageously towards one another, with Christ as our guide and anchor, God is glorified and Christ is revealed, and we have the opportunity to not just talk about the power of the cross but to live it, to experience it, and to meet Jesus in ways we never dreamed. Courage has its rewards.


Jenny said...

thanks marsh. i don't know if i've reached a point of brokenness yet, but i'll keep this in mind when i do and need encouragement. thanks for blazing a trail of racial rec in the neighborhood for others to follow.

Marshall said...

Interestingly this post was not generated by racial reconciliation stuff at all but by a conversation between people who had hurt one another in very deep ways and were seeking to go the cross together. It is applicable in racial rec and really in any sort of rec at all.