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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN




Are You Reconciled to God?

Panfilo de Narvaez (1478-1528) was a Spanish patriot, conqueror and soldier in the Americas. It is reported that as
 Narvaez lay dying, a priest asked him whether he had forgiven all his enemies. Narvaez looked astonished and said, 
"Sir, I have no enemies. I have shot them all." That's one way to get rid of your enemies. But there is another way. Abraham Lincoln once said, "The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend." Fifty years after the horrific battle of Gettysburg, something happened that demonstrated the power of Lincoln's idea. According to author and film-maker Ken Bums in The Civil War, in 1913 the Federal government sponsored a 50th anniversary reunion at Gettysburg for three days. Thousands of survivors bivouacked in the once bloody battlefield where soldiers from the North and South had shot and killed one another by the tens of thousands. The climax of the gathering was a reenactment of Pickett's Charge. Thousands watched as Union veterans took their position on Cemetery Ridge and waited as their old adversaries emerged on Seminary Ridge and started toward them across the long, flat fields. Philip Meyers (who witnessed the event as an 18-year-old) wrote, "We could see not rifles and bayonets but canes and crutches. We soon could distinguish the more agile ones aiding those less able to maintain their place in the ranks." As they neared the northern line, the Southerners broke into one final, defiant rebel yell. At the sound, "after half a century of silence, a moan, a sigh, a gigantic gasp of unbelief' rose from the Union men on Cemetery Ridge. "It was then," Meyers wrote, "that the Yankees, unable to restrain themselves longer, burst from behind the stone wall, and flung themselves upon their former enemies. . . .not in mortal combat, but reunited in brotherhood and affection" (p 412).

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend. Wonder where Lincoln learned that? We don't know for  certain. But history records that (for whatever reasons) Lincoln often read the Bible and could quote large portions of it. If so, he would have often read about the concept of reconciliation ("to re-establish friendly relations; to bring to agreement again" [Webster's Universal Dictionary and Thesaurus]). The Bible often asserts God under took the most dramatic and costly (to Himself) steps to destroy the enmity human sin had placed between man and his Maker. Hebrews 2:17 is one place Lincoln would have read about God's efforts to make man His friend again. There the inspired writer hammers home that Jesus became a man so "that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" (kjv). Another place is Romans 5:10-11— "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation." The cross of Christ proves that God wants to destroy His enemies - not by killing them, but by making them His friends. Are you reconciled to God?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ