Whatever Happened to Biblical Reconciliation in the Anglican Communion?
By the Rev. Canon Phil Ashey
You and I both know the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness is a unilateral act that we must repeat, according to Jesus, "seventy times seven," precisely because we have been forgiven of our sins by God in Christ on the cross, and precisely because it is a hallmark of following Jesus. We forgive whether or not the person who has offended us recognizes their offense, or repents, or expresses any remorse at all. We forgive because Jesus first forgave us.
Reconciliation, unlike forgiveness, is neither a unilateral act nor a one way street. 2 Corinthians 5:18 reminds us that the primary and central context for biblical reconciliation is God's reconciliation of himself to humankind through the death of Jesus Christ and his blood shed for our sins. From this, all people may be at peace with God through Jesus Christ. It is this reconciliation that the Christian primarily offers. Whatever other ministries of reconciliation we may have to offer are always shaped in every way by this God-initiated, Christ-effected process of reconciliation.