Repentance is a word church folks prefer to avoid. While it’s true we want to be reminded of grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, spiritual cleansing, and wholeness, we tend to rush toward the words that feel good and forget about the difficult, but necessary word which opens the door to the rest.
The act of repentance is most often discussed when we are inviting people to believe in Jesus Christ. He will forgive every fault, wipe away every failure, and wash away the stains of our selfish living. All we have to do is repent and believe.
We need to be reminded how repentance is not meant only for our initial salvation, the day we drew near to God and believed in His Son, Jesus. Repentance is God’s call for us, every single day.
Reconciliation is a buzz word in our day. As we reflect on history and the errors of those who came before us, we feel an obligation to build the bridges they burned, whether unintentionally or with violent purpose. The list of injuries is long, and the task is large.
One place reconciliation is strangely missing is the local church. We seem to forget how it is essential to the Gospel’s message. Each one of us is eternally estranged from God because of sin within us. Yet Jesus was born to sacrifice Himself so the penalty of our sin would be paid, and we would have the opportunity to be reconciled to God.
In places where there are multiple choices for a place to worship, people often leave one congregation in favor of another, not so much because God has called them to connect and serve in that new church home, but because of problems with people from the old one. If only we could find a way to reconcile.
We might find it easier if we learned to talk about what has happened with a different set of words. How we define our situation will determine what course to take, if we leave room for any at all. When it comes to reconciling our relationships, we have to be careful to keep open the bridges that bind us together.
Life isn’t perfect and rosy. It’d be nice, but it’s alright to be honest. Stuff happens. Sometimes there are a lot of pieces to pick up and put back together, or to scrap in favor of something new.
But fixing troubles isn’t easy, either. It gets worse depending upon the number of people involved in the situation, and how long the trouble has gone on. Eventually someone has to step up and tell the hard truth, to tell it like it is so the group can move on to what is possible.
Part 3. On the night of Jesus’ birth, God’s glory didn’t only appear in the stable or on the hillside near Bethlehem. It tore a hole in the fabric of the universe. When it was seen by those who noticed such things, it shook their world and drew them to Someone greater than anyone or anything they had ever known.
Their guide to this glorious King was a shining star. It revealed a uniqueness about this King, and they had to find Him. But when the stopped allowing the glory to lead them, not only did they get sidetracked, but disaster followed. And they almost missed it all.
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