Reflection: Reconciliation and the Gospel

The principal of reconciliation is probably the one thing I most desire for my life to reflect.  I have to constantly remind myself that reconciliation is the heart of the Gospel: that God has chosen to reconcile me to Himself, and that in turn, I have a responsibility as a follower of Jesus to become reconciled to those around me.  The days I “get” this, know it in the deepest part of me, pray for it & seek it earnestly are the days I truly feel the reality of the Lord’s presence, and consequently the days I feel most whole, most human, as He created me to be.  But even though my heart is for reconciliation and for “the least of these” and even though I am on my way to pursue a Master’s in Social Work, and I am praying for Jesus to give me vision to use this degree for His kingdom, I confess that my heart is not daily, holistically focused on reconciliation.  Even though this beautiful word, “reconciliation” rolls off my tongue several times a week in regular conversation, I am beginning to realize that although this is my dream, it is not my reality, aside from maybe one area of my life.  As I was reading through an excerpt from CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) on the subject, one idea particularly stood out to me: “[The Gospel] responds to people as whole people”—there is so much summed up in that phrase.  As Christians, it is so much more simple for us to respond directly to needs—visible, felt needs with so-called quick fixes.  When I read that I thought, “What does that mean, to respond to people as whole people?” Immediately I knew, that’s what I get to do every day at work.  I work as a Life Coach at InJOY Life Resources, Inc., a day program for adults with developmental disabilities.  In the last year, I have had the opportunity to respond to my clients as whole people, not just respond to their needs.  I don’t just help them eat safely, walk across the street, help them hold a paintbrush or learn how to write their address—I do all of those things under the banner of friendship, because they are whole people whom I have come to know and love—I give to them and I receive, I teach and I am taught, each day, how to be more whole as a person.  Who would’ve thought I would learn wholeness from these “broken” people?  I believe the deepest, most real sense of joy comes from seeing and believing in the treasures, the human-ness, the value in the people our culture has deemed less worthy.  This is reconciliation.  This is what I want to see in every area of my life.  I want to see ethnic diversity in my church, I want to see neighbors with diverse incomes relying on one another, becoming self-sustaining communities where dependency is not accepted or necessary, I want to see healing & wholeness in my friendships.  But I’m wrestling today, thinking, how long have I been saying I want these things? How do I daily practice reconciliation in each relationship & situation?  When will I stop saying “I want” and begin saying, “I see this in the different areas of my life.”?

Written by: Michelle Roberts