Ministers of Reconciliation | Bearing with One Another
I was greatly encouraged last night as I got together with a group of men to eat dinner together and then play some games. I wasn't encouraged by the meal or the games themselves, but by the manner in which the conversations went during that time. I got to meet a man who already knew my Uncle and had gone through Mending the Soul with him to deal with past abuse/abandonment. I have also fortuitously done Mending the Soul with my Uncle recently, and so that laid a foundation even deeper than we had earlier in the conversation that evening while getting to know each other. In Ricardo I found another kindred spirit. It did not matter that his past was from another country. It did not matter that our first languages were of different origin. This was a man who knows his worth comes not from past failures or triumphs, or even from ones heritage, but from the identity gained through Christ's blood, the seal of the Holy Spirit, and our right standing before the Father. Praise the LORD for encouragement from others He has touched and transformed!
Beyond that, I was reconciled to a brother whom, in my pride, I had written off as a possible fellow sojourner. I did not wish to link arms with this man. I had even done the unthinkable: unfriended him on Facebook years ago after some comments I deemed rude and unnecessary in my insecurity. While we had separated ways many years in our past, the LORD was doing His work in both our hearts and lives separately. I was blessed to find major common ground last night built upon God's unmistakeable grace which we missed when we were younger and even more hot-headed than today. Both of our wives have dealt with chronic pain. Both of our families have had to deal with certain judgments from others which lacked grace and seem all too easy from our Christian communities. Both had found rest in God's ever-faithful and never-ceasing flood of grace which covers our sin and brings us peace. I must admit, I was quite wary of the possibility of seeing him again last night. I had not given God the credit due His name as He loves to work for His glory and our good. The Spirit had brought us both through so many struggles/trials in our lives respectively that we had renewed common ground to praise God together and link arms in doing so. May the LORD forgive the arrogance in my heart for assuming that He would work on me alone and not others. Praise the LORD for giving us back to each other as brothers of encouragement and not of strife any longer.
ii cor 5.16-1916 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (emphasis mine)
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (emphasis mine)