There has always been division in humanity. Ever since Cain and Abel we have seen jealousy, fear, envy, distrust and misunderstanding. People have always had prejudices, which means pre-judge or to form an opinion that is not based on fact. Sometimes it is an unconscious bias against a person, race, or gender. It does not help that the media loves to stereotype people and people groups. None of this is new. In Galatians 3:28 is says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Even two thousand years ago people were labeled by race, gender and class.
When I was ten, we moved from Mexico to New Jersey. As a third culture kid and new to a small community, I stood out like a sore thumb. I tried my best to fit in, but the US culture was foreign to me. I had a number of misunderstandings with other kids, mostly because I really did not know any better. Somehow, one of the boys I had made an enemy of was the playground bully. He was also a third culture kid as he was originally from Puerto Rico. He called me out to a fight one day after class. I had no interest in fighting him and had no idea why he wanted to beat me up. I was much more interested in being his friend since I understood him more than the kids who had only lived in one place all of their lives.
As I walked home that day, a group of kids had gathered to watch the beat down. I had made up my mind to talk some sense into Nelson. When I approached him, I asked him why he was mad at me. He said I had called his mother a name. Besides not knowing what the name was, I denied ever saying anything about him or his mother. Apparently someone just wanted me to get beat up. Unfortunately, since a crowd had gathered, Nelson needed to do something to keep his reputation intact, even though he believed me. Choosing not to get a black eye, I decided to duck and run. Nelson landed a blow on my back as the crowd cheered and heckled me as I ran away.
The next day I approached Nelson to let him know that I had not said anything derogatory against his mother. It was not who I was. We talked for a bit and eventually reconciled our differences. We became really good friends for the next couple of years while I lived in the community. If I had not sought to reconcile with Nelson, I would have missed out on a friendship. While God does call us to reconcile with each other (Matthew 5:23-24), His ultimate desire is for us to be reconciled is with Himself. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation, where we are helping others be reconciled with Jesus. We are to help others know Jesus as their Lord and Savior so they can also be sons and daughters of God.
Action for the day
Is there anyone you have an issue with? Anyone who has wronged your or you have wronged? Today, make the decision to reconcile with them. Raise the white flag of peace and go make it right with the other person. Maybe it is a family member or old friend. Maybe it is a co-worker or a child. Whoever it is, put on the mind of Christ, set aside any pride and make amends.
Prayer for the day
Jesus, thank you for loving us and reconciling with me. Thank you that you did not leave me as a sinner and an orphan. But I am now Your child and a royal priest. Father, I ask you to help me reconcile with those who I have wronged. Give me the courage to say I am sorry and let this bring You glory. Let this be the first step in our reconciliation, but also reconciliation with You. It is in your powerful name, Jesus, that I ask these things. Amen.