My Come Follow Me studies for this week took me to 2 Corinthians 1-7 and a lesson titled “Be Ye Reconciled to God.” The lesson was preceded by this counsel: “As you study Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, write down some of the gospel principles you discover and ponder how you can apply them in your life.” The lesson was introduced in the following paragraph.
Sometimes, being a Church leader means having to say some difficult things. This was true in Paul’s day just as it is today. Apparently, a previous letter from Paul to the Corinthian Saints included chastening and caused hurt feelings. In the letter that became 2 Corinthians, he tried to explain what had motivated his harsh words: “Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you” (2 Corinthians 2:4). When you’re on the receiving end of some correction from a leader, it definitely helps to know that it is inspired by Christlike love. And even in those cases where it is not, if we’re willing to see others with the kind of love Paul felt, it’s easier to respond appropriately to any offenses. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland counseled, “Be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with” (“Lord, I Believe,” or , May 2013, 94).
The principle that I feel prompted to discuss this week is found in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21: “Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can be reconciled to God.” The Apostle Paul knew what it meant to become “a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17). He went from a man who persecuted the Christians to a man who fearlessly defended Jesus Christ. The scripture block is as follows:
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
(2 Corinthians 5:14-21)
Some important words in this scripture block are reconciled, reconciliation, and reconciled to God. An online dictionary definition for reconcile is “restore friendly relations between” between two individuals or groups. So, reconciliation is the process of restoring friendly relations, and reconciled to God means to restore friendly relations between an individual and God. What is separating you from God? What do you need to change to be reconciled to God?
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke on the topic “The Ministry of Reconciliation” in the October 2018 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ. He concluded his remarks with the following comments.
My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify that forgiving and forsaking offenses, old or new, is central to the grandeur of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I testify that ultimately such spiritual repair can come only from our divine Redeemer, He who rushes to our aid “with healing in his wings.” We thank Him, and our Heavenly Father who sent Him, that renewal and rebirth, a future free from old sorrows and past mistakes, are not only possible, but they have already been purchased, paid for, at an excruciating cost symbolized by the blood of the Lamb who shed it.