How to Respond in Difficult Times
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
We have been witness in 2016 to some very difficult times in our country. There are so many people who are hurting and heartbroken. There is also a lot of division in our country between people. How should the people of God respond? What should be the ministry of the church during these difficult times?
I have heard it said that sometimes our differences are irreconcilable. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 reminds us that God is bigger than any difference that may exist. This passage reminds us that God bridged the greatest irreconcilable difference that ever existed when He sent Jesus to die on a cross for our sins. Our sins had separated us from God and created what seemed to be an irreconcilable difference. 2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us that God in His love and mercy overcame that difference and reconciled us to Jesus.
Now that we have been reconciled to Jesus, this passage tells us that we now have been given the “ministry of reconciliation.” What does that type of ministry really look like? I believe that God is calling us to love others as we have never loved before. I believe He wants us to love others as He loved people. How does God love? Let me provide three characteristics of God’s love. First, I believe He loved us sacrificially. John 3:16 tells:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God’s love is a sacrificial love; He gave His only son. Not only is God’s love sacrificial but also it is an unconditional love. John 3:16 also uses the word “whosoever” to indicate it is a love available to all. The last characteristic I want to give you is that God’s love is a forgiving love. Colossians 3:13 reminds us:
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
I pray that we as the church would begin to be ministers of reconciliation and bridge differences with people with the love of God. After all, that is what God did for us. Our world needs to see Christians who love others sacrificially and unconditionally and who forgive others. God has called us as believers to a ministry of reconciliation and it is time for the church to truly be the church. If we could live this way, we would help the hurting, we would bring people together, and in turn lead many to faith in Christ.
I leave you with a quote from a great preacher of times past that speaks to how we should live:
“Do all the good you can, to all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as you can.”