I heard about an office whose answering machine was set up to instruct callers to leave their name and address, and to spell any difficult words.

Early one Monday, when the secretary was reviewing the weekend messages, she heard an enthusiastic young woman recite her name and address, and then confidently offer, "My difficult word is reconciliation. R-E-C-O-N-C-I-L-I-A-T-I-O-N."

Reconciliation can be a difficult word. It's not that it's difficult to understand. Webster defines the word "reconcile" as "to restore to friendship or harmony, to settle or resolve." The word can be used in a variety of ways, but when it's applied to people, it basically means to get two separated people back together again. So we talk about a husband who wants to be reconciled to a wife who has left him. A father who wants to be reconciled to a wayward son. And a lost sinner who needs to be reconciled to God.

While not difficult to understand, reconciliation can be a difficult word to put into practice. It can be very difficult to get two family members who are at odds to be reconciled. It can sometimes seem very difficult for us — or for others we know — to be made right with God.

A man once went to a preacher because he was having some family problems. He wasn't a very well-educated man and sometimes got his words confused. He said, "Me and my wife need a re-cancellation." What he meant to say was reconciliation, but the word re-cancellation wasn't a bad choice because there can be peace for those who have been separated only when sin has been canceled. As sinners before a righteous God, we need a "re-cancellation." And that's exactly what Jesus made available when he died on the cross.

The word re-cancellation wasn't a bad choice!
"... by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight." (Colossians 1:20-22)

Thanks be to God for making this difficult word a reality in our lives. Now let's make it a reality in our relationships!