The Kiss of Peace
- What is the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?
In the earliest days of the church, Christians participated in a ritual act called “passing the peace.” Through this ritual, early believers would affirm and actualize their reconciled relationships with one another before participating in Communion. If anyone had a broken relationship or lacked forgiveness in his or her heart, that person was expected to work it out during the “passing of peace.”
The action taken by someone passing the peace in those early days was to offer a kiss. This is what Paul meant when he told his readers to “greet one another with a holy kiss.” When you engaged the “kiss of peace,” you proclaimed reconciliation.
We’ve looked at many of life’s relationships during the Relat(able) series. This week we explore what it looks like to take those first steps toward reconciling broken relationships.
Are you able to relate with the person with whom you currently have a seemingly irreconcilable relationship? Can you envision these relationships being reconciled, restored and resolved?
To gain a biblical understanding of this, let’s go back to Romans 12, specifically verse 18:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
- What does the phrase “as far as it depends on you” look like practically? How far are we to take that?
There have been some relationships throughout time that looked completely irreconcilable. And yet peace, even in unlikely situations, is possible. Here is how it is possible:
The cross is the template for reconciliation in the relationships of our lives
The cross is where Almighty God made peace with us. The cross is where a deal was brokered under the terms “my Son, for you, because I want peace with you.” The most severed of all relationships- man with God- was reconciled through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Christians are to be the people who seek the possibility of peace
It’s not natural for us to want reconciliation. Instead, it’s natural for us to want payback (who doesn't love a good revenge movie?) But as children of God we are no longer natural- we are alive by faith, filled with the supernatural power of God through the Holy Spirit. We now live by a whole new grid, where our ambition is to seek the possibility of peace.
We have the capacity to go the second mile and be at peace with others. We can’t always reconcile with others, but the Holy Spirit can give us the freedom to release them from all their wrongs, just like our Heavenly Father released us from all of ours. We can retire from retaliation, bankrupt our desire to get even, and walk with all that weight off our shoulders. Because as far as it depended on us, we chose to live at peace. That’s what makes us so relat(able).
- Why is leaving the results of reconciliation with God the best, and hardest, thing to do?
- What has been your most practical take away from the Relat(able) series?
If you or your group wish to further explore this week’s topic:
On the heels of the question, “how many times do I have to forgive people who sin against me?” Jesus told the parable in Matthew 18:23-35.
What was Jesus trying to communicate in this story?
Is it harder for you to give mercy or receive mercy? Why?
What is the difference between granting forgiveness and enabling destructive behavior?
How does reconciliation fit into this parable?