If I were to ask you to seek someone’s forgiveness, to make it right with someone, to mend a relationship, who is the first person that comes to mind?
Take that raw, unfiltered, unqualified answer and make a note of it, write it down even.
If I were to get a tattoo on my body, it would look like this. At this point, I’m not planning to actually get this tattoo, because I recognize that my lanky physique is not exactly a canvas. I am not trying to give you any reasons to have to look at me any longer than you absolutely must. However, I guess what I’m saying is, this image carries tattoo-level meaning to me. Here’s why:
One of the ways we talk about what church is at Northeast is the idea of being a “preview” of the Age to Come. In this image, the circle on the left represents life in this age, or the kingdom of this world. The circle on the right represents life in the Age to Come, or life under the rule and reign of King Jesus. And that overlap in the middle is the space that Jesus opened up when He invaded this age, lived an actual life in the kingdom of this world. Because of His crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension, the life of Jesus declared to the world that there was a coming Kingdom reality that is in some sense present now.
So the church, the life of every follower of Jesus, is the place where the two circles overlap. We live under the rule and reign of King Jesus right here in the dead center of this age, and in so doing, declare to the world around us that Jesus is a real King, and living under His Kingship is the most beautiful, compelling, “capital L Life” way to live.
So every time we extend the hand of forgiveness to someone who has wronged us, or when we ask the forgiveness of someone whom we have wronged, we are in a very real sense expanding the overlap of those two circles. We are saying that new life is possible. We are giving the world a preview of the Age to Come, declaring that Jesus is a real King who sits on a real throne and rules in a very real way. And where He rules, relationships are restored, freedom trumps bondage, and the resurrected life – life made new – is par for the course.
So who is it for you? Maybe it’s a long-standing hurt that you’ve had a difficulty acknowledging for a very very long time (click here to read my recent example of something like this), or maybe it’s a seemingly small issue between you and someone close to you that comes up all the time. Whatever and whoever it is, if you see the opportunity to make it right with someone, to expand the overlap of those two circles, I would ask that you take a risk and move on that conviction this month.
What if we all did it? Consider the Kingdom advancement impact of an entire body of people bent on making things right. I am very excited about what that could mean for all of us, for our community, and His Kingdom.
If you take this on, and you would be comfortable with it, feel free to share your story in the discussion below.