There is so much conflict in our country right now. People are outraged about how to handle immigrants and the refugees. Some people are unhappy about the presidential election because of their moral standards and values. Others believe that those who are different than them should not be excluded and judged. Well, I hate conflict! I’m not sure that anyone ‘really’ likes it. When I am in the middle of a conflicting situation, it sucks the life right out of me. I cannot sleep. I sometimes cry. I feel angry and perhaps, even hurt. I just want it to go away. I want everyone to be happy and get along. However, unfortunately, it hardly ever works out that way. And so, here is my struggle…how do we make a wrong – right? How do we discern who is right and who is wrong, especially when there is so much grey? And, finally, how do we become agents of change in a world filled with chaos?
If you think about it, Jesus came to earth when everything was so messed up – really no different from today. The women were considered outcasts, especially if they didn’t have a husband and/or give birth to a son. The poor stayed poor – there was no hope for a better tomorrow because the Roman government made the tax structure so high that just about every penny went to taxes. The power of the Pharisees and Roman Government was powerful and the poor suffered greatly! However, the minute Jesus was born, things began to change and people began to have hope for a better tomorrow.
But, the change was different than what they thought would change. Jesus didn’t go and just help those who were in good standing with the government; he went to the poor, the sick, the blind, the hungry, and the crippled. It made the Pharisees angry and the Roman government furious. In fact, so mad they looked for every reason to kill him and crucify him on the cross. And, they did succeed. But, here are Jesus’ last words on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Jesus forgave the very ones that hung him on the cross and nailed the nails into his hands.
I don’t know about you…but I am not sure I have that capability. But, yet…it is what we are called to do. In 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, St. Paul reminds us that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18). We are ambassadors for Christ (v.20). In other words, Jesus gives us the authority to forgive others, even when we disagree, are hurt by other’s words and actions, and conflict abounds.
However, we are called to make the wrong – right by forgiving others. It has to be the starting point.
Let us pray, Gracious and loving God, forgiving others and reconciling relationships is a very difficult thing. Sometimes it feels utterly impossible. Help us to remember that through you, it is possible. We are reconciled to you and give you thanks for your gift of amazing grace. Amen.