Reconciliation according to Merriam-Webster.com:
The act of causing two people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement.
The process of finding a way to make two different ideas, facts, etc., exist or be true at the same time.
The ideas and realities of false teachers and prophets continues to cross the lips of saints in hushed corners of like-minded folks, church foyers or in the market place.
What is a false prophet, how can we know them and what are we do to with them?
What does this have to do with reconciliation?
Well, it’s a bigger subject than I can tackle. I am not equipped academically to have a debate, neither am I trained to exposit such a topic.
But here’s what I know as an everyday Christian.
There are two main threads to consider; the outright false prophet and the erroneous teacher. Since I lack the direct connection with Christ in the flesh or am not directly being inspired by the Holy Spirit, I am left with taking God’s Word seriously on the matter.
Only God can reconcile those who are erroneous teachers in the least through continued education and kind correction from more mature souls. As for the outright false prophet, well, sometimes only God knows, and it is best to pray for all enemies as Christ teaches.
Who knows, maybe I myself may need the grace someday on matters I have taught with a well-meaning heart, but have been erroneous in practice.
Here’s what I believe.
Deuteronomy 13 has direct commands on how to deal with those who deliberately turn people away from God. They are to be killed. How glad I am not to live under this law anymore, but to be given the grace to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling that others might see Christ more in me.
I also know to accuse one of being a false prophet with more emotion than facts can create a mob scene. Mobs operate from physical momentum more than logic.
So to protect those who would be accused unfairly, the Word of God also makes accusers accountable.
Never slander a worker to the employer, or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it. (Proverbs 30:10).
To accuse the innocent of outright false prophecy or erroneous teaching with little to show but an inference or intuition puts the onus on the accuser, not the one being accused.
And isn’t this what God’s enemy is known for?
Accusation with no facts, or distorted facts or facts that have been forgiven by Christ?
I will not dignify God’s adversary with naming him. But I will certainly point to his character.
His “s” name means accuser according to Merriam-Webster, and Strong’s lexicon states this being is a “superhuman adversary.” His “d” name means to cause trouble, or as Strong’s Greek lexicon puts it, “prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely.”
Here’s how I want to look at false teachers today, through the lens of prayer and gracious correction if need be.
I take warning from the Word of God that to accuse someone, I need full evidence or I myself will suffer for calling out someone who is innocent, and might incur God’s wrath directly.
God’s aim always is to reconcile man to him. I know the harsh realities. I also know the graceful realities that those who once were erroneous in teaching and practice were always given a chance to get right with God.
The slanderous and murderous Saul of Tarsus turned into the grace-filled truth-telling apostle who left more letters to encourage God’s family than any of the apostles who walked the earth with the physical Christ.
Mine is to pray, walk by faith and not fear, for it is only God who can do the reconciling of those who are not only ignorant of God, but who outright lie and lead others away from God.
Mine is to stay tethered to God through the reading of God’s word, work and worship with my local church family and look forward to my Savior’s return or wake up one morning in Paradise, whichever comes first.
One final thought.
With all the pressings on our faith today, maybe there is an opportunity to reconcile with God or with others with whom we might be estranged. Maybe there is a simple misunderstanding to be worked out that a mischaracterization be corrected.
How sweet is the coming together of two souls after a season of pressing, sifting and burning away the chaff that otherwise would separate further.
But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. (Genesis 33:4)