Neville Naden, Indigenous Ministry Officer
As this is Reconciliation Week, I thought I should offer a few of my thoughts on this significant subject.
As part of BCA's Reconciliation Action Plan, we encourage our staff across the country to celebrate Reconciliation Week. Today I’d like to offer these thoughts as we look to engage with Indigenous people across this vast land.
What is Reconciliation? The dictionary definition is as follows: “Reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relations.” Reconciliation is an act to unite two parties who were once unified and at peace with one another, after a separation, to reunite/reconcile and restore broken relationships.
My understanding of reconciliation is that there are two types. There is Biblical Reconciliation which is outlined in 2 Corinthians 5 and what I call, 'Secular Reconciliation' which the world today is seeking to grasp.
Paul, in writing to the Corinthian Church, says that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). So, the work of Biblical reconciliation has nothing to do with man. It's all of God! It shows how we have a relationship with God through His son Jesus. It removes the human element from the equation, whereas 'Secular Reconciliation' is based on a reciprocal arrangement between two parties. It says, if you do something for me and I do something for you, then we can be one. Biblical Reconciliation says that it's not what I do for you or what you do for me that makes us one; it's what Christ has done for both of us.
What does this mean for God's people? It means that the act of reconciliation has already taken place. It is not something for which we need to strive. Remember that it was “God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself”.
What does this mean for me as a child of God? To be reconciled to God and His people places a much bigger claim on how we function in the body of Christ. I need to accept all His people. All His people are to be my people, regardless of ethnicity, gender and social standing.
You may have heard the phrase, 'you can pick and choose your friends but not your family'. Friends, when you are bought with the precious blood of Christ, you are a part of God's family along with a myriad of other people.
Does this mean that we don't have a responsibility to engage with people outside the family of God? No, it doesn't. Paul, in writing to the Galatian believers, says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10
God bless you all as you seek to do just that.