Friday, November 29, 2013

Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Living in Grace against the Missio Malum

The Story of Scripture is clear on one thing, Evil has a mission. This mission is seen in the destruction caused in the Edenic scene, where a beautiful and happy humanity become broken exiles, hiding from God out of shame. It is seen again in vivid color as the whole of the New Testament letters are dedicated to seeing that the community of faith see through the bickering and differences between them and to the reality of the new humanity they have together become. Evil has a mission, to see humanity ravaged by disunity and hate. For a humanity that is broken in this way ceases to be humanity. If Evil can take humanity away from the world then God too will vanish. With no humanity to bear his image and reflect his beauty Evil will have won accomplishing its mission.

God has a mission as well: To see Evil vanquished. The Good News of the "Gospel" is that in Jesus God's mission has come to the world and has a great victory. This. Missio Dei is the whole point of the Biblical narrative, its main theme. Israel was created out of Abraham in order to see to the riddance of Evil from creation. A people through whom God would call all the other nations back to himself. Indeed Paul understands this eschatological intention as the foundation for God’s covenant with Abraham, “in you all the nations are blessed” (See Romans 8 for the cosmic end of a restored earth followed by Romans 9-11 where Paul makes the argument that through faith in Jesus people become members of the “Israel of God” and this people, “all of Israel will be saved”). Jesus, while dying on a cross cries out for God to forgive his killers because he understands what is at stake: Evil is the true culprit responsible for his death and his death will be ironically the death blow to death itself, Evil has been dealt with. The death of Jesus and his resurrection bring God’s mission to its climax and to its accomplishment. Evil is no longer hidden and reigning without challenge, in fact it is only a matter of time before it’s completely gone from this world. Since the cross, God has given his spirit, his “glory” to his people as his new Temples. These people have the authority and power to resist evil and be victorious over it. The most important way this is done is through the living out of the good news announcement. Proclaiming that Jesus is now indeed King must be accompanied by a self-sacrifice of relentless forgiveness. To forgive is to bring the Kingdom of God into our lives and confrontations. Like the demons and sickness that encountered Jesus when he began his ministry, so Evil will not be able to stand, Mark 1. Forgiveness is essential to obeying the Gospel and not being a false or counterfeit follower, Matthew 6:14.

Do not allow Evil to accomplish its mission in your life. Be reconciled to your enemies, forgive all who have wronged you. When we fail in this we deem ourselves of more importance than God's mission and to choose the wrong Kingdom in which to live. There is no such thing as neutrality. One will either promote the Missio Malum (Evil) or the Missio Dei. This holiday season seek that family member, co-worker, Church member or neighbor who you do not like, who does not like you and forgive them. Speak blessing to them, apologize and tell them that you want to be reconciled and ask if they would work together with you to see this done. Obey the Gospel. Otherwise, all of our religious work, bible study, church attendance, and community group involvement is in vain. Evil doesn't care if we are religious, it wants us to have broken relationships, pretending to be a disciple of Jesus while we are violating the very essence of his Gospel. Do we want to be true disciples, to really see the glory of God in our lives? Then we must repent and with all of our energy and resources...with all our life can pour out, be reconciled to our fellow image bearers. There is nothing more important in the life of the disciple of Jesus. Be like the Rabbi.

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