Part Three: Reconciliation Rehabilitates

When we were in the refugee camps, it was challenging to make a life. Settling in a place has no meaning if life is not aimed at achieving a reasonable level of quality: equity, equality, expectancy, education, and employment. An unpredictable life can cause a person to experience all the essential, measurable areas of disadvantage. Reconciliation is about creating equity and equality, closing the gap of disparity between people, and building relationships.

 Scripture establishes that the heart of God is for reconciliation. II Corinthians 5:17-20 states:

 So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (II Corinthian 5:18 ESV) 

 Forgiveness toward others is a command; it is not optional for those who are in Christ. However, God’s heart desires we also reconcile ourselves with others as often as possible, just as God, in Christ, reconciled us to himself. What is the ministry of reconciliation in our lives as South Sudanese? “Ministry of reconciliation” refers to the work believers have been given to do and the message they declare: you can have a restored relationship with God through Jesus.

 Why does God desire that we reconcile, not just with him, but with other people? Reconciliation leads to restoration! God, through Christ, gave us the healing of reconciliation and restoration. Our lives change for the better when we are reconciled to God, and the suffering of many can be alleviated by the restoration that comes with reconciliation. As South Sudanese, we desperately need the restoration of our people, so we desperately need reconciliation.

 Nehemiah is a role model for reconciliation in my life and can also be one for the lives of the South Sudanese people. Because of reconciliation of his people, he was able to lead them in working together for a common goal: to restore the walls and the ruined city of Jerusalem. We must find ways of living together peaceably, even though we are members of 64 different tribes in South Sudan. However, the harm we have done to one another through bitterness and anger makes it very difficult to reconcile.

 My journey from a horrifying nightmare to the restoration of my life is fantastic and unfolded on my watch, but God owns the story. Because of Christ, I realized that I cannot hold tightly to the bad things that have happened in the past, or I will miss the blessing of the present. My future holds the hope of restoration for my family, life, people, and country. I must let the bad things go in order to grasp God’s gift of a new life of restoration and reconciliation.