YOUR Ministry

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called Children of God,” Jesus said.

Peacemaker. Why is it that people who use that word tend to put it in a context that makes the peacemaker sound spineless? Are peacemakers people-pleasers who placate the unsettled soul by pandering to “whatever makes them happy?” This is obviously NOT what Jesus meant by the powerful title he made synonymous with God’s offspring in Matthew 5. Peacemakers actually MAKE peace… sometimes by getting into the middle of conflict, no matter how intense it is. Ironically, true peacemakers are the people who are willing to do the dirtiest work, even humbling and sacrificing themselves or their reputation to try to bring about restoration, forgiveness, and healing. Sound like anyone you know?

Jesus provided the perfect source for true, lasting reconciliation both vertically and horizontally (eg. with God and people). His authority in this ministry of reconciliation has been passed on TO US as He commissioned us to be His operatives in the world. In an article by Dr. David Turner of Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, the concept of reconciliation is carefully dissected. “God is the initiator and people are the receptors of reconciliation,” Turner tells us.[2] This is why Jesus told His disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel…”[3] Under the influence of God’s Holy Spirit, we get to be His ambassadors and initiate the same reconciliation Jesus extended to us.

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What does it mean to be a minister (or Ambassador) of reconciliation? If you know what an Ambassador does, you will understand this concept to some degree. In a tale of two kingdoms, earthly and heavenly, we’ve become the bridge in between. Sometimes it means being walked over in the process of providing help. It’s very much the same as being a peacemaker. In a very real way, it means we’re now responsible to get in the middle of the broken relationships between God and people to become a catalyst for healing. We exist to help people move from the kingdom of death into God’s kingdom of eternal life.

The minute you accept Jesus, THIS IS YOUR MINISTRY, your full-time job for life. And by the way, it isn’t optional. You’re either a Disciple of Jesus or you’re not.

You might say “Hey, this isn’t what I signed up for.” Oh but it is! It’s not a comfortable idea but a true Jesus lifestyle never will be. As new members of the ministry of reconciliation, we are called to do some seemingly crazy acts of extroversion and love to accomplish our mission. We intentionally open ourselves up to opportunities to persuade people, build relationships, and demonstrate the love of Jesus. We faithfully exemplify and speak about the Gospel of Jesus with our friends and family in the hopes that we can one day initiate them even as we have been initiated. We’re not the same person we were before we were launched into this ministry. It becomes our new identity.

Can you recall a time in your personal experience when you approached someone you knew regarding harmful behavior in their life? What was your motive in speaking to them about what you saw? How did they respond? Often a hostile response precedes a humble one when we try to bring about reconciliation. We all have areas where we make mistakes. A recent insurance ad even capitalized on this fact with the tagline “We all do dumb things.” It is an unfortunate side-affect of the human condition that our pride causes us to either reject the existence of our issues or revel and indulge in them. It’s rare for a person to respond well when a weakness or blind spot is identified for them even by a loving, unselfishly-motivated, outside source. The defenses go up and the person either deflects responsibility or starts to cast critical aspersions on you. This is why Jesus warned that “in the same way you judge others, you will judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you… first take the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”[4]

This may discourage us from ever helping to correct what we see is wrong. You may say, “I’m not perfect either, so why would I speak to someone else about what they’re doing?”

It’s not about you.

Our membership in the Ministry of Reconciliation is not an ego trip. It can only be accomplished through the power of God’s Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Under submission to Him, we become the peacemakers (James 3:18), the nurturers of right choices (1 Thess. 5:14), the loving truth-tellers (Eph. 4:15), the encouragers (Col. 3:16), and the identifying agents of spiritual illness to prescribe forgiveness through Jesus Christ unto reconciliation with God and others. We have a mission. Unless issues of sin or blindness are pointed out, there will be no opportunity for correction and a person will continue to walk in death; their harmful practices will continue to inflict pain and hurt relationships. Your capacity to confront in a selfless, loving way, not seeking personal promotion but restoration of relationship is central to YOUR ministry and operation in the Body of Christ.

[1] Matthew 9:2, Matthew 9:5, Mark 2:5, Mark 2:9, Luke 5:20, Luke 5:23, Luke 7:48

[2] David L. Turner, Paul and the Ministry of Reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2 (Criswell Theological Review 4.1, 1989), 77-95.

[3] Mark 16:15

[4] Matthew 7:1-5

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About Brittany

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Einstein
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