All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
…because we, the church, are in fact full of hypocrites. We are bad about that.
I am certain you can fill in some of your own favorite examples of this. Paul’s remarks to the Corinthian church above point out one of my favorite examples.
Paul reminds us in the church that we have been given BOTH the message of reconciliation AND the ministry of reconciliation. They go hand-in-hand. The message is shallow and powerless without the ministry. The message (i.e., that God loves you and forgives you) requires the ministry (i.e., that we love and forgive each other as well) in order to have any power, any credibility at all. Otherwise, it is just…hypocritical.
It makes complete sense if you think about it. It requires us to practice what we preach. Those of us in the Christian church have preached the message well for a long, long time. “No matter where you have come from, no matter what you have done, God loves you and forgives you.” But if we are not, at the same time, willing to act out the ministry of reconciliation, i.e., “…and I love you and forgive you as well…” then the message rings shallow no matter how eloquently we speak it. All the cool videos and all the polished presentations, all the great books and all the amazing sermons, all …