Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

An Answer To A Cliche

Popular Translation

17 If someone is with Jesus, they are just like new. The things from the past go away. Now, everything is fresh! 18 All this came from God. He made us his friends with Jesus. And he gave us the job to pass God’s friendship to others. 19 God wants everyone to be his friend along with Jesus. He is not counting every evil thing that has happened against people. God gave us the message about his friendship. 20 So, we speak for Jesus. And God wants us to give you a message of encouragement. So, we beg you. Become God’s friends! 21 Jesus didn’t sin. But God made him just like sin, hated and rejected by people. He did this so we could find God’s goodness in us, along with Jesus.

Literal Translation

17 So, if someone (is) in CHRIST, (he is) a new creation! The old (things) went by (the wayside), the new has happened. 18 But everything (is) from God, the (One) having reconciled us to himself through CHRIST and having given to us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, God was reconciling the world to himself in CHRIST, not (mentally blaming) them for their trespasses and having placed in us the message of reconciliation. 20 So, we are ambassadors on behalf of CHRIST, just like God encouraging (you) through us. We plead (with you) on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God! 21 The (ONE) not having known sin (God) made sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in HIM.

5:18 “ministry of reconciliation” The word “ministry” is actually “service” (“diakonia” in Greek, the root word for “deacon”).

5:19 “(mentally blaming)” is literally “reasoning (against).”

5:20 “we are ambassadors “ is literally “we are elders.”

“Life’s not fair!” How many times have we heard that phrase? Life’s inequities are matters of fact, not opinions that can be debated.

The root of life’s inequities is sin. Life isn’t fair because we are all sinners, living together in a moral universe. Sin denies us rights and entitlements. Life isn’t fair because we fail one another.

What’s the answer to this dilemma? Should we remain on this merry-go-round of hurt and cynicism and resentment that builds walls between us? In these short verses from Second Corinthians, Paul gave us God’s answer to the problem: reconciliation. He forgave us. We experience that forgiveness in a relationship with Jesus Christ. But he offers more than forgiveness. He offers us intimacy. When we are in Christ, we are as close to the Father as his Son is.

What is our responsibility for such closeness? Evangelization. We are to tell others about the Good News of God’s reconciliation. More important, we are to live that evangelization. We are to forgive others.

Life isn’t far. That why God gave us forgiveness.

Who has hurt you recently? How can God help you forgive them?