I often hear people speak of the "Great Commandment" and "Great Commission." Certainly both are phenomenal passages of Scripture, and hugely important to the Christian life. However, I don't think we give enough credence to 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. And I love how Eugene Peterson worded it in The Message:
14-15 Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.
16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
21 How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.I think that is a phenomenal passage, and thought. But I wonder, how good are we (the church) as living this out? Are we living up to the task? Are Christians really known as people who "persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them"?
I dunno..... I would say most of the time we are voicing our differences and making a mess of things.
And, on a more personal note, this is perhaps the thing that has disappointed me the most with the situation involving our former church and even within the leadership of my denominations region. No one seems to have ever had any interest or desire to reconcile (with us). In fact, the only thing that we've ever heard is their desire to "just move on." But, maybe that's reading too much into this passage than I should. Even so, I still don't believe it is a God-honoring sentiment.
Anyway, I have always liked this passage and stumbled across it again the other day. I still like it. Still trying to live it, even as poorly as I do.