Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Someone Has To Die

                If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know what I am referring to as I write about reconciliation today. If you haven’t, then let me refresh your memory. Over six months ago my husband and I found ourselves in a disagreement, a difference of opinion with a brother in the Lord. This caused my husband and me to separate and break fellowship. I was devastated, more so than I at first realized. We believed that we were right before God, and our brother believed he was right before God. We had crossed swords and it seemed, at the time, that it was over for us to ever fellowship again.

                The day before we met with our brother in the Lord, God had spoken to my husband and told him what to say and how to respond- that response was to break fellowship. So, after praying together about what the Lord spoke to my husband, we did what God has asked us to do- we broke fellowship and left with a knowledge that we had obeyed our God. Now, months later, I find my heart wanting to make amends, wanting to put things right between us. The only way unfortunately to have reconciliation is for someone to die.
                “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16
                As I read these words this morning, I felt the Lord urging me to lay down my pride, my rights, my ideas, and what I believed so that He could work the reconciliation that He desires to see. To lay down means to set aside one’s self for the sake of others. If we compare 1 John 3:16 with John 3:16 we see the true meaning of love. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)…By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)”
           
     Someone had to die for reconciliation to come to pass. Someone had to lay aside themselves so that we could be reconciled to God, so that we could be restored to fellowship and heal the breach that separated us from God the Father. That someone was Jesus Christ. He left His heavenly throne to come to earth so that we might have an example of love. But love is not known unless it is seen. We know that love is not a feeling but an action. The love that Christ wants us to have for our brothers and sisters is a laying down of ourselves and placing them above us, placing their needs before ours. It is a laying down of our pride and putting to death our own wants and desires, ideas and opinions- we must put our pride to death if we desire reconciliation and restoration.
                Jon Courson, in his Application Commentary on the New Testament writes, “There is no reconciliation apart from death. For us to be reconciled to God someone had to die- and it wouldn’t be us. God initiated the process of reconciliation by laying down His own life. So, too, the only way there will ever be reconciliation between you and the person with whom you are at odds with or toward whom feel tension is if someone dies. Either you will lay down your life and quit proving your point- or the other person will be the bigger person and choose to do so.” The only way for me to have peace and to have reconciliation is through death- someone has to die, and I believe the Lord is asking that of me today.
                Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Can I be blunt for just a second? When has our Christian walk ever been about us? When has it ever been about our rights, about our lives, about proving our point? The moment I gave my life to Jesus Christ I gave up all my rights except one. The only “right” I have now is to be the child of God. (John 1:12) I desire reconciliation, I desire peace in my soul from this situation, and I see now that the only way I will attain it is through death- someone must die.
                I have to come to a point where I am willing to lay aside my pride, stop trying to prove my point, humble myself and die before my brother in the Lord. It is no more about who was right, who was wrong- for all of us believed we were doing what God was instructing. And God was instructing and moving throughout the whole thing, because through this I have learned so much about myself, God, my relationship with Him and most of all He has been teaching me the process of reconciliation, which is showing me a deeper understanding of the love of God for us, His “rightful” children. Even though I seek peace and reconciliation, I wouldn’t change one thing about what happened, because through it I have grown closer to the Lord than I ever thought possible.

                If you are seeking reconciliation, or perhaps the Lord has spoken to you about reconciling with someone who you are at odds with or who has hurt you, then the only way to achieve it is through death- someone has to die. It is not about proving our point, or even trying to show that we are the better person- it is about reconciling a broken fellowship, a broken relationship so that God may be glorified. If anyone had the right to defend themselves, it was Jesus Christ. Yet He chose to be silent and die instead. In the end, the only way to true reconciliation and restoration is through death- someone has to be willing to die. So, the question the Lord is putting to me today is this, “Am I willing to die?”

                This is love, my fellow brothers and sisters, that we- no matter the circumstances, no matter the situation- love requires death. Death to our pride and death to our rights; and in this death we will find life, and we will have experienced the pure love of God as He so willingly demonstrated for us on Calvary. Reconciliation, restoration, can only come because someone was willing to die. Are you willing to die?