The subject of this blog came to me when I was reflecting on the words from one of my favorite Christmas hymns, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” The familiar first stanza goes like this:
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Peace on earth, and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
The word reconcile (and reconciliation) has to do with relationships that are broken and typically there is a separation. Often the parties are not even speaking to one another.
I remember a marriage counselor telling me about one of the beautiful things he witnesses in his practice. Sometimes, a married couple who are separated and on the brink of divorce will come in. They go through counseling and come together to see their love restored and their marriage saved. This is reconciliation.
We are told in the Bible that our sinfulness has made a separation between us and God and that our sin has caused Him to hide his face from us so that He does not hear us (Isaiah 59:2).
Sinful human beings are estranged from God, but He seeks reconciliation. Paul puts it this way in II Corinthian 5:18, 19.
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their wrongdoings against them…”
Paul’s ministry can be summarized in one word, reconciliation.
I think there are many people in this life who believe in God but have never been reconciled to Him. They have no real relationship with Him and because of this find life to be empty, making little sense.
Dr. Darrell Bock has written a book titled, Cultural Intelligence. He shares some powerful words on being reconciled to God and why it is the most important step a person can ever take.
Reconciliation is an important theme in engagement, and to me, this category is the answer to the problem of life and finding our proper place in it. Without being reconciled to God, we cannot be fixed. Our human brokenness—and its estrangement from God—overshadows everything: politics, ideology, world circumstances.
Without a change of heart, only externals change significantly. We can posit all kinds of answers as to what might fix what’s wrong in the world, but ultimately reconciliation is the divine answer to the problem that ails the human race.
Getting properly reconnected to God, and then letting his resources and his power and his enablement change how we act and interact—that is the answer. And in that process, a healthier dynamic can emerge, a better way of functioning in the world around us.
This is why Paul says in II Corinthians 5:20, “We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.