By Bartholomew Orr
Reconciliation: More than a buzzword
“He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as He brought them safely into harbor!” (Psalm 107:29-30 NLT)
Our nation is in the STORM and I’m not talking about the recent storms and hurricanes.
We are in the spiritual storm of disobedience, driven by the demands of society instead of the commands of Scripture, the Word of God.
We are in the political storm of discord, divided by parties instead of being united by principles. Elephants and donkeys are acting more like cats and dogs.
We are in the natural storm of disasters, disturbed by nature and even greater disturbed by the nature of some of our citizens.
We are in the emotional storm of discontent, discouraged by what we don’t have instead of appreciating what we do have.
We are in the racial storm of discrimination, disliking the color of one’s skin instead of discovering the content of one’s character.
Therefore, one word has been getting much press lately. In the current climate of America where division is permeating the very fabric of our society, the buzzword is “Reconciliation”
Reconciliation is defined as the bringing of two differences into harmony, restoring relationship, bringing into balance that which is out of balance, coming into agreement with another. Reconciliation is needed from the church house to the White House to your house and my house. Now is the time that we stop fighting against each other, stop family feuds, stop the competition and start fighting together and working together to solve our common problems.
Is reconciliation a big deal to God? It must be because He included a whole book of the Bible on this very subject — Philemon. What a story! Runaway slave meets jailed preacher. He gets saved and starts assisting jailed preacher. Jailed preacher writes a letter to his former master and tells runaway slave to go back to his master and take the letter and submit to his master. We can learn some important lessons from this story.
We (the Church) must begin the process. The Apostle Paul initiated the process and likewise the church must begin the process of reconciliation in our nation. The Church needs to act! Jesus came preaching, teaching and healing. Jesus came with a message and with miracles and it’s going to take a miracle to rescue our youth, redeem sinners, restore marriages and families, resource the church, reconcile the racial divide and resolve our community issues. It’s going take a miracle and the Church needs to act!
According to 2 Chronicles 7:14, we must begin with repentance — humbling ourselves, praying and seeking God’s face and turning from our sins.
We must bring together the players. Just as the Apostle Paul used his influence to bring Onesimus and Philemon together, the church must be the roundtable that brings all the players (politicians, business leaders, educators, law enforcement, civic leaders, etc.) together. Social Media is not the solution for reconciliation.
We must believe the pain. The Apostle Paul affirmed the pain but asked that any indebtedness be forgiven and “charged to his account.” The church must lead the way by exemplifying respect and encouraging restraint as we acknowledge everyone’s pain. Then we can agree to pardon the past as we work to fortify our future.
Finally, we must better the partnership. The Apostle Paul asked Philemon to enter a new relationship with Onesimus — brothers in the Lord, instead of slave and master. Reconciliation will not happen without building and strengthening relationships. In relationships, if we expect more, we give more.
Bartholomew Orr is senior pastor at Brown Missionary Baptist Church in Southaven. He can be reached at brownbaptist.org.