Former President Jimmy Carter has gained a reputation as a mediator, working to resolve conflicts between nations, political ideologies and his own Southern Baptist denomination. His political background, as well as his own character and personality, made it possible for him to convince warring factions to sit down together and work out their differences.
The work of reconciliation presumes a prior relationship, damaged by actions of one or both parties, and that at least one side is willing to work to restore it. God has always sought to maintain a relationship with us, but we have stubbornly continued to damage the relationship. Finally, Jesus came as the great mediator, to reconcile us to God once and for all, not only restoring the relationship, but paying the penalty God demanded for disobedience.
Our task becomes two-fold—to work for reconciliation with those around us, in our immediate world, and to work to restore the relationship between the Savior we represent and the world that is at odds with him. As stewards of reconciliation, it is our task to tend carefully to and share the gospel message of love with those who need to be healed and restored by its words.
- What special qualities do you think a mediator needs? Make a list of those qualities.
- How can we be stewards of reconciliation?
- What are some things we can do to reconcile the damage humanity has done to the earth itself? Do you think there is any hope of repairing that damage?
- Do you know of a group, in your church or elsewhere, that is in need of reconciliation? Can you try working with both sides to help bring about harmony? Develop a plan and pray for reconciliation.
- Contrast the Old Testament way of reconciliation and its demands with what God has made available through Jesus.
- Identify people that you know that are effective peacemakers. List their characteristics that make them effective. Pray for them.
- Write to someone who you know has been working for reconciliation in some area. Thank them for their hard work and love that they show through their life’s example. Let them know that you will be praying for their continued work and thank God for all they have done already.