The Heart of Missional

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. – 2 Cor 5:14-20

Over the last two or three years years our church has had more than it’s usual share of broken relationships. Personnel issues, musical styles, lack of communication, and the normal stupidity that accompany the petty consumer mentality so prominent in the evangelical wing of the Body, have all contributed their part to a number of folks being at odds with each other.

I’ve come to a conclusion about this.

The problem isn’t the broken relationships. 

Broken relationships are par for the course living in a world where everyone is the little lord of his own two foot square realm. That’s just the way it is, has been, and will be until Glory.  And (I shouldn’t have to say this, but…) of course we should do our best to live at peace with one another. That’s part of being a grown-up.

The problem is what happens after feelings are hurt and relationships broken. Or more truthfully, what doesn’t happen.

The real problem is that we aren’t willing to reconcile.

A large segment of christianity in the West has taken “being missional” as almost a mantra. And maybe I’ve just missed it, but I’ve yet to hear one of the proponents of missional talk about reconciliation as the center point of the ministry of the church. I hear “re-thinking the gospel”, “story”, “relevant”, and “post-modern”. But I don’t hear “If you’re at the altar and remember that a Brother has something against you, leave your offering there, first go and be reconciled to him.”, or “Why not rather be wronged, why not rather be cheated, than to act this way in front of unbelievers?” 

The ministry we have been given, the mission of God, in and through us, is a ministry of reconciliation.

We are ambassadors of reconciliation. We are called to show people that they can be reconciled to God. One of, if not the primary way we show that to a watching world (and make no mistake about it, they are watching) is by being reconciled to each other.

Why don’t we do it? Just a couple of reasons that come to mind. One, because it requires us to actually do something instead of just talk about it. And two, because what it requires us to do is practice the three most difficult virtues in Gospel living; self-sacrificing love, forgiveness, and true humility, toward those we feel inclined to treat like enemies. 

Is it hard to do? Yep.

Is it time consuming? Almost always.

Are things always better right away? Nope

Does it always work? Unfortunately, no.

What if I don’t want to? Tough.

Can I even do this? Not without Jesus. Not without knowing how much he loves me. Because it is the love of Christ that compels me to live this out.

I know this sounds like Christianity 101, and it is. 

But here’s the deal. If I don’t do this hard work of the kingdom, no one, and I mean no one, will believe that they can be reconciled to God. If I can’t even be reconciled to the guy next to me in the pew over some stupid, silly squabble over how many time a chorus is repeated, no one should believe it.

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One Response to “The Heart of Missional”

  1. You Never Sausage Links! (8.29.08) « The Cruciform Life Blog Says:

    […] The Heart of Missional (We talk about being ‘missional’ but won’t reconcile with one another.) […]

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