Imagine for a moment being on the New Earth. Every person who has loved and trusted in God across the millennia is there. As you walk the paths of this perfect planet for all eternity, you laugh and talk and share with everyone you meet, enjoying perfect fellowship with each person…
…including the brother or sister in Christ whom you are currently at odds with.
Ouch. Did that make you pause? It sure made me stop to evaluate my current relationships.
You have probably seen conflicts brood and fester at church. Broken relationships between Christians. Grudges and bitterness nursed for years. Sometimes people are openly hostile. Other times, they pretend everything is okay, but you can feel the tension just below the surface. Too often, one of the parties disappears from the church or group, leaving unfinished business behind them.
What I find deeply troubling is what I don’t usually see – the proactive giving and receiving of forgiveness. No one is willing to take the first step.
Now, go back to the New Earth. That conflict will be resolved there. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it will be resolved by Jesus bringing me and the person I am at odds with together, and having us forgive one another … right there, in his presence. There is no “unfinished business” with Jesus – he always makes sure things are finished properly. That was his proclamation on the cross as he died: “It is finished!”
So, here’s the question I have for us today, myself included: Why wait until the New Earth to resolve the conflicts that plague us today? We have everything we need to finish this unfinished business – in fact, we have a command to do so:
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32