2Corinthians 13:11 ESV Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
I dislocated my shoulder when I was a teenager. At first we weren’t exactly sure what had happened, so I attempted to throw something and the pain was more than I could handle. I ended up at the hospital and everything was put back right. The pain didn’t immediately disappear but after a few weeks of physical therapy I was pretty much pain free again.
Sometimes there are folks who get “out of joint” with the body of Christ. They have sinned and the church needs to practice church discipline (such as Paul addresses in 1 Cor. 5) or they grieve one another with their conduct (such as suing one another, bragging about spiritual gifts, eating meat sacrificed to idols in front of a weaker brother, or the other incidents mentioned in 1 Corinthians). When a brother or sister is out of alignment with the body in these ways it is painful, tender to the touch, and no real spiritual work gets done. What needs to happen is reconciliation and restoration.
Paul reminds the church that if we are to ever really experience the peace of God, we always need to aim for restoration. This is how the body of Christ heals when we experiences damage in our relationships with one another. We can’t just bury it, hide it, or go on as if nothing happened. We need to be comforting one another, agreeing with one another, and seeking peace. After all, God is a God of love and peace.
The questions we can ask ourselves in reflection today is this: Is there anything I’m doing that might cause the body of Christ to be out of joint? Are there molehills that I’ve turned into mountains? Are there things I’ve done to cause my brother to stumble? Is there blatant sin in the camp that needs to be addressed? Is there someone who is seeking reconciliation that I need to forgive?
Father, thank you that you are a God of peace. Thank you for the peace that was made with us through Jesus Christ. Thank you that you have put us together with other believers to be the body of Christ. I pray that when we find ourselves at odds with one another that we do everything with in our power to seek reconciliation. I ask that we always practice church discipline with an aim towards restoration. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.