I love this story.
Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral is Dublin, Ireland, there’s a door that tells a five-century-old tale. In 1492 two families, the Butlers and the FitzGeralds began fighting over a high-level position in the region. The fight escalated, and the Butlers took refuge in the cathedral. When the FitzGeralds came to ask for a truce, the Butlers were afraid to open the door. So, the FitzGeralds cut a hole in it, and their leader offered his hand in peace. The two families then reconciled, and adversaries became friends.
This is reconciliation at its finest. Cutting a hole through barriers that separate, in order to seek peace and harmony.
This is what reconciliation does…it’s all about one person, one family, one nation, choosing to do the hard work of reaching out to the other who is estranged from us…to the one who has offended, to those we feel don’t deserve mercy, or forgiveness. And in so doing, a profound act of reconciliation leads to the soul-satisfying comfort of shalom.
I love that word, “shalom.” It encapsulates the life that we all long for, and the essence of the life that Jesus promised to give when he said,
“I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
When we pursue shalom,
… we choose to move from adversary to friend…from conflict to peace.
… we intentionally choose to replace fracture with wholeness.
… we choose to overcome the barriers of discord and bring about harmony.
And when we choose to become people of “Shalom,” we chose to become like God.
God is the great reconciler, the great Shalom-seeker. And not surprisingly, this is our calling as Christ-followers. Frankly, it’s impossible to serve Christ and not choose to do the hard work of reconciliation. Consider the heart of God:
“For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things.” (Colossians 1:19)
If God’s loving heart is inclined to do the hard work of reconciliation towards all humanity by giving up his Son Christ on the cross, and if we take seriously the Biblical call for us to, “Imitate God, and live a life of love,” then the natural bent of our Christ-infused heart will be to seek the shalom of others through reconciliation.
Reconciliation never is easy work. It’s not about pretending that things are other than they are. It’s not about turning a blind eye to the wrong. Reconciliation actually exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the pain, the hurt.
It wasn’t easy for Hutu and Tutsi Christians in Rwanda to reconcile with one another after the genocide. It wasn’t easy for Amish Christians to forgive the school-house killer of their children and show mercy to his wife.
Reconciliation requires a big dose of risk-taking, of humility, of honesty.
But if we fail to work for peace, to make amends when we are at fault, to seek reconciliation with those estranged from us…it’s like we continue to go through life stuck behind a big yellow school bus, sucking up its noxious exhaust fumes that forever pollute our lives…the very opposite of shalom.
Jesus took this reconciliation stuff pretty seriously. He said, get your priorities straight…if your brother has something against you,
“First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
As Corpath members pursuing excellence in spirit, let us choose to continually walk down reconciliation road, humbly seeking forgiveness when we are at fault; graciously offering peace to those who have offended us…seeking shalom as the integrating principle of our lives through the power of Christ at work within us.
This week, is there a door in which we need to cut a hole and extend our hand in restitution, in peace, in forgiveness, in shalom?
Nothing brings more joy to the heart of God then when his children imitate him.
Blessings for a week of shalom.