Reconciliation has become a word and idea that much of the world associates with South Africa. But the ideal of the Rainbow Nation sometimes papers over some of the great rifts that still exist and keeps us from truly grappling with what it means to be reconciled to each other and how we go about this monumental task.
- What is reconciliation?
- Does it just mean we can co-exist in the same country?
- Does it mean being civil and making sure each other’s rights are protected in the political sphere?
- Must we be in relationship for true reconciliation?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-19.
- What do you think he means by saying we have a ministry of reconciliation?
- How is that part of our identity as Christians?
- How can we be ambassadors of reconciliation?
Like forgiveness, reconciliation is something that can be used cynically and become too cheap. If we keep in mind that Christ’s death reconciles us to God, then we must remember, as German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, that “what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.” Reconciliation is a call into whole, healed relationship with each other.
Read Luke 10:25-37. The parable of the Good Samaritan shows us that the Samaritan recognizes the man’s wounds, binds them up, and goes out of his way to care for him, at cost to himself. Reconciliation is not his goal, but a result of his action-oriented justice.
- Discuss the parable.
- The first two people who pass by don’t want to be slowed down by the man’s injuries and the possible risk to themselves (the thieves might still have been in the area). Do we self-protect?
- In what ways might this keep us from reaching out to others?
Sometimes wounds are not visible.
- How can we find out if people are wounded?
- What is our responsibility when they are?
- How do we learn to live sacrificially?
- How might restitution be an action through which we move toward reconciliation?