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By Pastor Cory Swinderman
Some people are like oil and water. They do not mix. They do not want to mix. In their past, there lies a betrayal, a slight, or a hurt that has fractured relationship. They become divided in our divided world.
The Bible tells us that enmity is to blame. Enmity is a state of division resulting in alienation and estrangement. It is both the wall between us, and cement that makes that wall strong.
At the beginning of time, enmity entered the world when Adam and Eve still had forbidden fruit breath. God tells the snake who tempted Eve, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Enmity was not just about a hatred of snakes. It was a separation of God from his created people and his created people from each other. Barriers of enmity have remained strong ever since.
It is quite common to state the obvious in 2022: our world is divided. We all see it. The divisions run deeper than political affiliations and personal opinions. This can’t be blamed on Facebook.
Enmity is our problem. Enmity creates enemies. It’s fueled by anger, prejudice, bitterness, and unforgiveness. It leaves broken marriages and friendships in its wake.
The cure for enmity is reconciliation, but that is not really good news.
Reconciliation is often so challenging. It involves a willingness to listen, empathy, humility, and forgiveness. Some might resolve that reconciliation is impossible in some fractured relationships.
Our enmity needs an emulsifier.
Though oil and water cannot unify on their own, they can unify around an emulsifier. An emulsifier is a third substance that infiltrates both oil and water and allows them to mix. Oil and water combine with egg (the emulsifier) to create mayonnaise.
The emulsifier for enmity is Jesus.
Jesus came to put an end to the enmity in all of our relationships.
Since the time of Adam and Eve, humanity has lived in enmity with its Creator.
Our sin, made us powerless to do away with it. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us… For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:8, 10).
Jesus took upon himself, not only our sin, but our enmity, our alienation, and our estrangement. He built a bridge stronger than the power of our enmity and sin.
Reconciliation between us and God was made possible, but reconciliation was costly. It cost Jesus his life.
In the process of putting to death our enmity with God, he made a way for us to be reconciled to others. “For (Jesus) himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Ephesians 2:14, 16).
The costly, difficult work of reconciliation was started on the cross. And by his grace, Jesus makes reconciliation possible for us. And every time true reconciliation takes place, Jesus stands in the center of it.
When marriages are healed instead of dissolved, he is present. When enemies lay down their weapons of choice, he is present. When forgiveness is offered, he is present. When the hatchet is buried, he is present. When pride is swallowed, he is present. When war ceases, he is present. When estranged family members are reunited, he is present.
It is an obvious truth in 2022: our world is divided. Enmity has created enemies.
But we have a Savior who has done the hard work to bring us back together.
And now 2000 years later, reconciliation remains the best path toward a better future.