18 All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, CEB
We tend to give up on each other, don’t we? I was having a conversation with a friend recently where we were both lamenting relationships that we have where we can’t truly be honest with the other person. “They won’t be able to hear what I have to say,” we said. It’s useless. What’s the point? Voicing our concerns will only cause more conflict.
So often when we talk about hope, we’re talking about something we wish God would do in our lives. But, I wonder, shouldn’t we also strive to practice hope with and for each other? When did I become so cynical as to completely give up on my “neighbor”? And to what end? Isn’t my refusal to have a difficult conversation (regardless of the outcome) at the very least a sign of hopelessness and, possibly even worse, a contributor to an ever-increasing inability to have hope? Every time I refuse a difficult conversation because of its apparent “futility” I’m throwing gasoline on a fire of hopelessness.
Man. Time for a gut check.
The discipline is to keep doing the things we need to do regardless of outcomes. If we have a certain principle or belief that aligns with what we consider “true” then we practice that principle without regard for the outcome…right? That’s the discipline. The discipline. The discipline. It’s a discipline because it’s not easy (clearly, as I’ve just admitted my own inability to follow through on this). It requires patience, practice, and humility to stick to one’s principles in the face of almost certain rejection. And yet, our ministry is one of reconciliation. Or, perhaps in cases like these, attempted reconciliation.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be hopeless.