When a Nation Needs Reconciliation
by Michael A. Asher
From the Declaration of Independence, these wise words were penned:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In times of national turmoil, every citizen must be willing to humble themselves to actually listen to those with different points of view. The current situation in which we are living calls for that kind of perspective. Clearly, none of us have all the answers, but each of us should value the need for all citizens in our country to reconcile our differences. Every person residing in our borders stands to benefit if our differences can effectively be resolved among ourselves. This is not the first serious challenge our nation has faced which has created significant division between citizens—and it will certainly not be the last. If our nation can come together after enduring such tumultuous times as the American Revolution, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Vietnam War, 911, and countless other periods on the path to becoming one of the greatest nations in the history of the world, we can most assuredly do so through this one.
Privileged to Be Reconcilers
In 2 Corinthians 5:17-19, the apostle Paul says, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation” (NLT).
Through Jesus’ death on the cross, God reconciled the world (every one of us) to himself, not counting our sins against us. And he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. We are to be ambassadors—messengers, tellers of truth—of his offer of forgiveness and the free gift of eternal life through an acceptance of his Son. What a privilege to be called into this task of reconciliation!
Reconciliation heals the soul, not only of the individual, but of the group, regardless of its size. For true reconciliation to occur for a nation, there must be an honest assessment of all viewpoints and a genuine willingness to hear those opposed to your position. There must be consideration, compassion, and understanding between all parties to, hopefully, identify common goals through open communication. Inevitably, some compromise will be required from all participants on some level, recognizing that the value of a nation coming together to solve its complicated issues ultimately strengthens its people by gaining new perspectives. We must deeply recognize the value in setting aside our differences for healing and for charting a more peaceful path forward together.
Privileged to Listen and Love
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
—The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
Most of us have voiced this pledge at some point in our lives, but what does the pledge mean to you now? A spoken pledge should be a solemn promise to commit yourself to a cause, no matter what it will take to see it through. Each one of us should reevaluate what the pledge actually means as we face the issues we have. This nation is worth fighting for. Freedom is not always without conflict or misunderstanding, but it is also worth expending whatever effort is needed to reconcile its people to each other. “Liberty and justice for all” is a worthy goal for every citizen of a nation to pursue and to join together to ensure that all other citizens receive it. We are blessed to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. It will take bravery to overcome our challenges, but we can as the United States. Do not let the spirit of division that has been thrust into the national debate deter you from the goal of resolving the issues with others.
Reconciliation can only be achieved if we value each other as much as we value ourselves. Jesus said, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12, NLT).
This statement, first spoken by our Lord Jesus during his famous Sermon on the Mount, has come to be known as the Golden Rule. This directive from Jesus calls us to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves. If you purposely try to apply the Golden Rule to the manner in which you live your life, it requires you to first pause and think of how you want to be treated by someone else, then consider how you should treat them. If only this incredibly simple rule were implemented across our country, think of how a nation could reconcile its differences with each other.
Finally, for true and meaningful reconciliation to take hold, people must express empathy, forgiveness, and love toward one another. A change of heart opens all of us up to healing the nation rather than tearing it down. We all live on the same planet, desire to thrive and be content in our personal pursuit of happiness, so keep in mind this principle: “We rise when we lift others up.” All men (and women) are created equal. We are all the human race. We all have stories to share. Jesus Christ died for every one of us, regardless of race, sex, social standing, or heritage. We are all worth listening to.
Michael A. Asher is a financial controller who has nourished a lifelong love of the Bible by sharing God’s Word through creative writing.