Hostility is everywhere, and getting worse. With my friends, I’m praying hard for it to end. But how will that happen? It is God’s work.
God reconciles—brings together—all kinds of people with different opinions and backgrounds by bringing them first to the cross of Jesus. Here is how it works.
Sinful hostility died when Jesus died on “the cross, by which he put to death [our] hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit (Ephesians 2:16-18).
When God the Father put his Son, Jesus, to death he was also putting to death all sins. They can no longer hurt us or break us. They don’t own us. They don’t control us. You do not have to participate in any hostility.
Now, pay close attention here. What is the best path for you to break hostility and rebuild harmony with other people?
You are already reconciled with them, because you are already reconciled to God through the cross. Whether you are a lifelong church person “near” to God and the true story of Jesus saving the world, or you are new to all of this and feel “far away” from God and might not appreciate some churchy traditions, through Jesus you “both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
You will not act with animosity toward others because they have access to God, as much as you do. You’re both broken sinners loved by God, healed by the cross.
Habitat for Humanity helps to fix the problem of affordable housing for everyone by connecting people able to build and afford their own homes with those who can’t. How? Building a house together. Volunteers come to Habitat for Humanity and work hard to construct a home. Those in need of housing come to Habitat for Humanity in need of a home.
And the building of a house brings those different people together—people of different zip codes, ethnic backgrounds and social classes. Without Habitat for Humanity and the house, they might not ever meet or enrich each others’ lives. The smiling faces and success stories fill us with joy.
So here’s the good news about your family conflict, marriage tension, strife at work or neighborhood or school torn apart by racial segregation—or, yes, even relationship problems at church. You don’t have to fix it, because God already has. Reconciling and resolving these issues starts with you, by faith, humbly accepting this gift of the cross that has put to death hostility, and then living with new harmony.
Love the cross. Like the wooden frame of a Habitat for Humanity house, it is the wooden framework that God uses to build harmony.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, bring us your peace. World peace will never happen. Opposing opinions will continue. We need restoration and reconciliation that is a miracle, starting in us. In me. Forgive me, and make me an agent of peace in this world. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Matthew 5:9 and James 3:18. Peace isn’t just a nice idea. It’s an action. Bring it. Sow it. And see what God can do.