Why We Can Be Friends

“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation”

2 Corinthians 5:18


Watching the news regarding our current political climate and the animosity that exists between most of the candidates running for President, and oldie but goodie song was playing as the news segment began. The song playing in the background was “Why Can’t We Be Friends” and I admit I have no idea what the song is trying to communicate by reading the lyrics, but you have to love the chorus, “Why Can’t We Be Friends, Why Can't We Be Friends, Why Can't We Be Friends, Why Can't We Be Friends ” as it is a catchy tune. It will be stuck in your head now for sure.   

The world might be asking “why” when it comes to being friends while the Bible answers the question of “how” friendship is possible in 2 Corinthians 5:19, “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” Our sins have separated us from God and one another and is exactly why Jesus gave His life on the Cross of Calvary, to make a way back to God, to bridge the gap, the chasm we created when we rebelled against God.  
 
The word “reconcile” or “reconciliation” is the Greek word, “Kathalaso” which means, “to change thoroughly, to change truly, with the main idea being, to change hostility into friendship. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reveals to us how through that change is, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Don’t you love that. Jesus made a way where there seemed to be no way for us to be reconciled back to God. After all, it was Jesus Himself who told His disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Because of Jesus we can become friends of God and true friends with one another.

All relationships experience some form of strain at some point. The Bible teaches us since we are all guilty we don’t have the ability to look down on each other. There is an old saying, “the ground is level at the foot of the Cross and it’s true. Salvation is a free gift to all who receive it. So, instead of judging one another Jesus gave us a new command and that was to love one another as He has loved us. Love the Bible says covers a multitude of sins. Love is what enables us to turn the other cheek, to prefer others over ourselves.

I’m reminded of the story of the couple who had divorced and years later the husband was back in town on business, and he went to the cemetery to visit the grave of his son, who had died some years earlier. As he stood in silence at his sons grave, he was startled by his ex wife who happen to be coming to visit her sons grave that same day. His first thought was to leave but as she stood next to him he reached down and took her hand instead. In that moment the hostility that had existed was giving way to reconciliation. The grave of their son reconciled them together. It was at the grave of God’s son that our lives were reconciled back to God. If you have an issue with a brother or sister in Christ the best way to heal is to humble yourself and take their hand.

Reconciliation is like a two sided coin. Heads is being reconciled back to God and tails is being reconciled with one another and includes pointing people who don’t know God how to reach Him. 2 Corinthians 5:20 spells it out for us, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.” Come home is the message to the prodigals. Years ago the story goes that a father and son had a fight. The son ran away from home and after a relentless search the son couldn’t be found. Desperate to reach his son the father took out an ad in The Madrid, the largest newspaper in Spain. The full page advertisement began with the heading, “Dear Paco” and below it said, “Meet me tomorrow in front of the newspaper office at twelve noon. ALL is forgiven, I Love You!” The next day, 800 boys named Paco showed up at the newspaper office wanting reconciliation and forgiveness from their father.

Every human being has three basic needs, to be loved, accepted and forgiven, and that’s exactly what God the Father offers us in Jesus Christ. It’s also what God calls us as ambassadors of Christ to offer to one another in His name as we go about our days clearing a path pointing the world to come home to God and be reconciled.

 
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight”

Colossians 1:21-22 


I LOVE YOU!

Michael Osthimer

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