Timothy B. Tyson once said, “If there is to be reconciliation; First, there must be truth.” Most would think of reconciliation in the context of relationships. However, if you work in accounting, you most likely think of verifying that two sets of data are the same. In either case, the common denominator is truth. To properly reconcile, one must be able to determine what information or data is true. At that point, you use the truth to measure or evaluate all other information and data. This is a standard safeguard in accounting to ensure accuracy, compliance and to identify fraud. I would suggest that there is another aspect of reconciliation that is just as important as our relationships and our business practices. The comparison of our personal actions, decisions, and beliefs with the truth serves as the foundation for all forms of reconciliation.
We live in a world where information is plentiful. Unfortunately, some of this information is false. In some cases, information is purposely manipulated with the sole purpose of influencing our actions and decisions. We use information (fact or fiction), along with our personal thoughts and emotions, to mold our beliefs. Our beliefs, in turn, influence our decisions and actions. So how do we know that the information we are using to shape our decisions and actions are based on truth?
I believe the Apostle Paul and Timothy worked through this answer in their own lives and then shared their experience and purpose with others. 2 Corinthians 5:16 says, “So we (Paul and Timothy) have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!” Sharing your personal growth is a powerful tool for encouraging and teaching others. Paul and Timothy grew in their understanding of God, which in turn, lead to a change in the way they evaluated others. They went on to say in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” Paul and Timothy believed their role was that of an ambassador. In that role, their strong conviction was they were to be an example and encourage people to be connected with God. Most people use this passage to talk about the reconciliation that happens when you initially give your life to Christ. While that is true, reconciliation should not be thought of as a one-time process. Rather, there should be a constant reconciliation that occurs as we mature in our faith.
Several times throughout the Bible, the Apostle Paul refers to individuals as “infants in Christ”. Meaning, their relationship with God and understanding of spiritual things were not fully developed or matured. It is easy for us to be critical of other people but challenging for us to address those things in our life that may be hindering us from becoming mature in our faith. This is one example of why the continual process of comparing (reconciling) our actions and beliefs to the Truth (God/God’s Word) is so important. Like the process of reconciliation in accounting, we will all benefit from ensuring the foundation of our actions and beliefs are based on truth and not on fraudulent information.