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December 31 | Colossians 1:15-23


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION


Enemies Reconciled

by Mary Alice McGinnis

Have you had someone hurt you? Over the years, have you had someone you loved deeply - someone you trusted - betray you, abandon you, turn their back on you, even intentionally and maliciously do things to harm you? Can you bring to mind that one broken relationship that just thinking about sends a shiver up your spine? Is there a person with whom you are alienated to the point of no return?


Do you think of that person as your enemy?


An enemy is someone whom we distrust, whose feelings and actions towards us are hateful at best, and cruelly hostile at worst. We want nothing more than to keep our distance - to separate ourselves from them - completely and permanently. In fact, if we are honest, we probably would like them to fall off the face of the earth.


In today’s passage, Paul says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.”


Ouch, that stings!


But down in the depths of our hearts, we know it is true. We know, just like Adam and Eve in the garden, when God has told us NOT to do something, that is the exact thing we have done. Just like Jonah, when God has said to go this way, we have run in the completely opposite direction. We were the ones who went looking after other lovers, just like the wife of the prophet Hosea.

Our relationship with the One and Only God, the ruler of the whole creation, has been irreparably broken. We have turned our backs on Him. There is no harmony – no peace – anywhere to be found. Just a trail of destruction that is left behind.


Just like this picture from the Bethel Series depicts, we see how this disharmony has alienated us from God, caused destruction in nature, in our world, and in our relationships with others.


No matter how hard we try to ignore it, numb it, or attempt to run and hide from it, we cannot escape its impact.


Here is the remarkable, unimaginable thing. Despite our failures and even hostility toward God, He did not want to leave us as His enemies. But there was only way to restore our relationship with Him - for reconciliation to take place. All wrongs had to be made right.


This was God’s plan: “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him . . .”


God Himself wrapped Himself in human flesh, and it please Him! All of the fullness of God took up residence in the person of Jesus. He stepped out of His supreme throne of heaven to be born in a humble stable with one mission.


“. . through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.”


Would you do this for your enemy? Would you pay the debt your enemy owed, even if it cost you everything? Would you do it especially if you knew they might still reject you?


“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8


PRAYER PRACTICE

Heavenly Father, I know I was once your enemy. Yet you chose to take on flesh just like mine to come and rescue me. You came to reconcile me, a lost and condemned person. I praise You that because of Jesus Christ’s physical body and through His death, You have brought me back into a restored relationship with You, fully and completely reconciled.


You present me before Your throne as holy in your sight, without blemish and free from accusation.


By Your Holy Spirit, help me continue in my faith, established and firm, never again to move from the hope held out to me in the gospel. Use my life as a praise offering as Your messenger of this message of reconciliation. I lay at Your feet my own broken relationships. Show me how to bring Your gift of reconciliation into those places. Help me to seek out those whom You long to restore to a relationship with You.




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