Like the Psalmist David, there are many who lament as they remember the sins of their youth (And let’s not forget the sins of last week.) Something internal tells us that God was not pleased with our selfish choices.
We lament at the ways that we were weakened and scarred. We regret the hurts and disconnect that we caused.
Extend the lament to community and nation and our sorrows increase. For instance, how did our ancestors legitimize the genocidal practices and abuse toward the First Nations people? The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada[i] has been at work to find answers for the widespread abuse in the previous century’s residential schools sanctioned by the Churches.
Jesus is all about reconciliation. For all that is damaged and broken, God came to restore and set right. Even when the abusers were supposed to be God’s representatives, the gospel has power to judge and heal. That’s right—the gospel is also a message of judgment against all that’s wrong in us and in the world.
Still, our reconciliation with God is conditional on our willingness to be reconciled. In an age where we expect that a good set of personal rules will always keep us happy, safe and improving the gospel calls us to a greater good than personal well being. The gospel message says, ‘Nonsense! You cannot save yourself. You need God’s help to get over yourself. Humble yourself before God and let His Son save you.’ It is a reconciliation message that extends to the worst of our suffering and unanswerable dilemmas.