The God-Shaped Hole
Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Given the current political climate, there is a great need for both. Reconciliation may prove elusive in many arenas. Social media is buzzing. On the cusp of the pandemic full of fear, loss and controversy there is no allowance to come up for air. Inflation, the overturn of Roe v Wade, continuing war in Ukraine, corruption in government, mass shootings, and more leave one gasping for relief. The waters of controversy hang heavy while treading uncharted waters.
The “United” States is far less than united. Opinions run hard and fast and hot. Has the vitriol of the political world compromised the unity of the home as well? Are families taking “social sides”? Sarah Holland, author of “How to Move Forward When We’re Divided” says “Everyone is still really hurt by some of the fallout in their relationships over COVID”.[i] She expresses that as people begin getting together once more, there will be pain from the last blowup. Will there be forgiveness and reconciliation, or will the fire be continually fanned?
In an on-camera interview with the editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro discussed issues facing families and our nation. Cautioning that when a person lives in a godly community in which they treat people well then move away from that toward “that person offends me, and ‘I don’t like them, so I am morally superior’ their attitude creates a God-shaped hole in the American heart, filled with dislike for their neighbors.” [ii] When a true Christ-like reaction can make the most impact, Christians often risk falling short with an exclusive “I’m right, you are wrong” attitude.
How, then, can Christians hold a line for Biblical truth and stand shoulder to shoulder with the people they most disagree with? Be it family, friend, teacher, political leader, or criminal we take our lead from Jesus. When Peter asked Jesus if he should forgive someone who sins against him seven times, Jesus replied “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven”. (Matthew 18:21-22) The implication is that Peter is to forgive every time. A bitter pill to swallow for those who passionately strive for morality and are constantly shut down, expecting justice in an unjust world. Jesus also promises justice. In Luke 18:7-8 Jesus says, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night...I tell you; he will see that they get justice…”.
Forgiveness and reconciliation are not synonymous. Christians do not have to “reconcile” themselves to another’s belief to forgive. To be friends with the “enemy” it is not necessary to make your beliefs compatible with theirs. To love your enemy as yourself does not demand surrender to the enemy but a surrender to the heart of God. Reconcile where you can. Fill the “God shaped-hole” in your relationships by showing Christ as Christ lived. He too lived within a political hotbed and immoral society. He never wavered in His compassion for mankind.
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[i] https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2022-06-16/for-families-deeply-divided-a-summer-of-hot-buttons-begins [ii]https://dailycitizen.focusonthefamily.com/daily-headlines-thursday-june-23-2022/