Today is known as the Day of Reconciliation. Although for most South Africans i imagine it is just seen as a public holiday.
Someone’s status caught my attention this morning and got me thinking, ‘Imagine if in South Africa we started celebrating Day of Reconciliation in the way Americalanders celebrated Thanksgiving?’ – now, as always, any analogy is as strong as the point it is trying to make so let’s just ignore all the negative aspects linked to Thanksgiving for a moment and focus on the idea of sitting around a table together and looking back and giving thanks.
DAY OF RECONCILING
This would be an amazing day to grab hold of for families. Sitting with children and explaining to them the significance of reconciliation and then modelling it to them.
But take a minute right now. Is there anyone that comes to mind who you are holding unforgiveness towards at this moment? Maybe it was something that someone said or did to you this week? Maybe earlier this year? Or perhaps something a little more deeper and more painful that happened a few years ago that you have not been able to let go of?
Is there anyone that comes to mind who you are holding unforgiveness towards at this moment?
Alternatively, it might be someone who is holding on to unforgiveness against you. Jesus had some crazy unconventional teaching to give to that scenario, which turns the whole thing on its head.
Is there someone like that who comes to mind for you? You can’t make anyone forgive you, but you can open the door to reconciliation and invite them inside. Do whatever you can do to create the bridge and perhaps give them a nudge to step over? What is radical about Jesus’ statement is that He invites us to interrupt worship to go and do it. “Don’t pretend you are all close to God and stuff if there is broken relationship with you and someone else. Fix that and then come and hang with Me.”
START AT THE MIRROR
It’s often easier to see fault in the other person. You’d think Mandela might have been someone who would have been justified being pissed off with a lot of people, but he chose to look inwardly and make sure he was right inside, for the greater good of the nation.
Each of us need to stand in front of the mirror and ask where we need to change. This is something that should be happening on a more regular basis for sure, but imagine if on one day every year, every person in the country took this seriously and did a self-reflection and reached out to those who had hurt them and who they have offended.
Now this won’t obviously magically happen overnight, but how about you start as one person, as one family, as a group of friends, as a community to make something more significant of this day. Maybe today you just do something by yourself as it’s quite short notice, but plan to set aside The Day of Reconciliation in 2016 as something more significant?
As much as Jesus’ words were powerful, His example was more so. Regardless of who you might think He really was or what you believe about Him, much of His life and actions have been captured. One of the final statements He shouted out from the cross where he was being crucified in the most horrible way known to man at the time was the following:
If an innocent man who is being tortured and killed can have the attitude of Reconciliation for those doing the killing, then how much more can we do for those who have hurt us in smaller ways? Who have said things that caused offence? Or done things – or possibly not done things – which made us sad or angry or frustrated?
How about we claim the Day of Reconciliation as an actual thing we celebrate both in not having to go to work, but also in reaching out towards those where distance has been created?
Who is one person you need to begin this with? Please come back and let me know how it goes…