Athlete, You Are a Minister of Reconciliation
2 Corinthians 5:18 (ESV)
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
I don’t have to tell you that our world is filled with hostility. If you look nowhere else, just scroll a half-dozen comment threads under posts weighing in on the debated topic of the day.
There you will feel heat radiating from what appears to be absolute hatred exchanged between people who most likely know nothing about each other except that they ended up on opposite sides of the debate.
This, as much as anything in the world, is a direct result of humanity’s fall in the Garden (Genesis 3).
Right after Adam and Eve decided to do their own thing instead of living within the boundaries God established, enmity (literal: hostility, hatred, opposition) was introduced to creation. Conflict emerged between humanity and the world, between man and woman, and between God and the image-bearers He had made.
All of this conflict was embedded in the consequence of disobedience promised by God when laying out the ground rules of the Garden. God said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17).
That is the most basic problem of this broken world that the redemptive plan of God has been addressing throughout human history. All of God’s activity has been, and still is, about reversing the deadly effects of our rebellion.
The biblical word which describes the result of God’s activity is reconciliation. It represents the restoration of relationships which were previously made hostile.
In conjunction with God’s Son, God’s Spirit and God’s Word, Christians like you and me are God’s primary means of making known the terms of reconciliation and revealing beauty where that restoration of relationship has taken place.
Paul describes it this way in his letter to the church in Colossae:
“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him” (Colossians 1:21,22).
So you are the “poster child” of reconciliation to a world that continues to be at odds with God. When you show up for practice or compete on game day, you have the opportunity to put spiritual and relational restoration on display. This truly is the essence of God’s plan.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19 ESV).
Simply put, you are an ambassador sent to the battlefront of a world at war with God with news of potential peace. The message is preserved in our Bible, but it is fleshed out in the relationships of those who have been reconciled.
How visible will that transformation be to those who cross your path today?