Suffering is the price of reconciliation

Been super busy this Thanksgiving season and will likely also be in the Christmas, so probably won’t be able to post much still.

2 Corinthians discusses about how Christ commits us to the ministry of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one [f]according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ [g]according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [h]he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and [i]He has [j]committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

What 2 Cor 5 doesn’t tell us, but what we know from the gospels is that the cost of such reconciliation was Christ sacrificing Himself for us on the cross. Hence, suffering (and death) is the cost of reconciliation. The ministry of reconciliation that we have is to spread the gospel so that others may come to know the Father.

I think that we, as humans, are too apt to give up on relationships with friends, family, and other loved ones when the going gets rough or there is conflict. In our passive or passive-aggressive minds, we like to avoid all this so-called unnecessary down-and-dirty conflict with others and push it off to the side, allowing the feelings and relations to peter out. However, reconciliation requires two to come together through differences and the suffering that is present to ensure that there is unity in the end.

This is something to keep in mind as our country fractures, divorce is still prevalent, and often people decide that relationships aren’t worth it. People are worth it: who is our neighbor? Fighting and suffering for the relationship is what Christ has done for us.

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8 Responses to Suffering is the price of reconciliation

  1. Ame says:

    i’ve been reading The Coil Series by D.I. Telbat (https://www.amazon.com/D.I.-Telbat/e/B004ULWX14/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1)

    and he writes at the beginning of his books, “There is no redemption without sacrifice.” David Telbat is passionate about the Christians who suffer for Christ in the world, and this theme of no redemption without sacrifice is vividly woven throughout his books. it’s been sobering to read.

  2. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    It only takes one person to suffer, however reconciliation takes two. If a husband is suffering because he is treated with contempt and scorn it does not necessarily follow that reconciliation with his wife will be achieved. In fact he might likely be rejected and despised as a weak man that allows himself to suffer and not the alpha “real man” that inspires his woman to spread her legs for him. As long as the exhortation is to the husband that his “home is a cross and not his castle” there is little that will motivate an ungrateful wife who is miserly with her love. Human relationships are not the same as Christ to human relationships, after all a husband cannot work in his wife to will and to do. So where does that leave a man, but to endure suffering knowing that he is following the example of Christ who is faithful; all the while watching as the church is cheering his wife on to double down and pound more nails to keep him up on his cross daily and increase his suffering. Remember that even though Christ suffered, not all are reconciled to Him, in fact His name is blasphemed and His Lordship mocked by the very people that need reconciliation the most.

  3. ahlstar says:

    Both the original post and Jonadab’s comment are packed with food for thought. Thanks, gentlemen.

  4. @ Jonadab-the-Rechabite

    Good distinction.

    As Christians, we have the obligation to be the one who “takes the first step” so to speak, but in the end it does take two to reconcile.

    Sometimes that simply doesn’t happen in this mortal life.

  5. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    When the other person does not reconcile, the Christian man finds solace in knowing that their endurance in suffering, when done in faith and love, is communion with Christ and His suffering. Our pain is His pain and we become more like Christ as we love those who do not love in return and forgive those who would just as soon spit in our face and never see us again. Our benefits are growing in character, especially the character of Christ. Pain still hurts, suffering is still unbearable, but in Christ we are being made holy and our faith purified, which is more precious than gold.

    “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
    ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

    “We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”
    ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

  6. Jeff says:

    Christ also says to shake the dust off your feet from a town you are not accepted in. He also says to not throw pearls to swine.

    DS,
    What is your point? I see no use in holding grudges or being unkind and loving toward anyone, however I do not wish to socialize with past friends who have wronged me or my family spiritually. Be it family or friends. Our old pastor’s son took physical advantage of my daughter and the pastor blamed her. Now, they didn’t go too far, but it was my daughter’s first real boyfriend and she trusted him and the pastor. After the dust settled he said, “she got exactly what she wanted.”

    This coming from a traditional church, hymns, hr long biblical teaching. Men wore suits and ties etc.

    Severing ties with someone for stupid reasons like political disagreements I can see, but you write on spiritual matters.

  7. @ Jeff

    It’s akin to what Jesus says about the Church:

    If a brother sins, reprove him. If he repents, forgive him.

    There is also a difference between “trust” and “reconciliation” and “forgiveness” as well. You can forgive someone but not trust them. Likewise, you can reconcile with them but not trust them as well.

    Basically, it’s up to us to take the first step so to speak and not wait for others to come to us for whatever. The “Christian” thing to do is reprove is sin and/or blame is misplaced. If they refuse to acknowledge that then that’s on them.

  8. Jesus suffered in being tortured and crucified more or less in one day (not counting the “suffering” that living as a man would entail for Him).
    For some of us, suffering can take a different form and rather than be tried quickly and die, like He did for us, we must wait years and thereby learn strength and perseverance through a trial.
    That trial could be under the contemptuous hand of a trained feminist wife (not having learned the ways of men already and being an ignorant beta).
    God could see fit to train some this way and then, after some years, lead them to the knowledge that will enable them to change the paradigm and demand, through self confidence and action, respect from said wives.
    We should recognize this distinct possibility, as men are awakening to this blue pill training every day. I was one.
    God works everything to the good of those who love him, who are called to his purpose.

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