Let us imagine two people who were friends. Somehow they lost their friendship, and they got estranged and have become enemies to each other. Now, how can they reconcile, or become friends again? Let us try to answer this question with the help of a few stories.
Let us imagine Jacob and Esau. They are brothers. Jacob cheats Esau. Esau gets so angry that he wants to kill Jacob, and Jacob runs away. After 20 years, Jacob, feeling sorry for what he had done, returns to his brother, kneels down before him, and begs for forgiveness. Esau readily forgives him, and they embrace each other and get reconciled. Now they have a stronger bond with each other.
In short, reconciliation happens between two parties who are enemies when the one who does the mistake sincerely apologizes, and the other one forgives. Jacob apologized, and Esau forgave.
Enmity happens between two parties out of a misunderstanding too. Saul, the king, and David, the shepherd, were good friends. Eventually Saul grew suspicious of David, and as a result, he tried to kill David. In such a situation, reconciliation happens when the suspicion is cleared. David tried his best to convince Saul that he had no enmity at all toward Saul. When Saul realized it, their enmity was cleared. Then Saul apologized for suspecting David needlessly, and David readily forgave Saul.
Let us try to understand the story of Adam and Eve. They were friendly with God, the landlord. Slowly they grew suspicious of God, their landlord. Of course a snake’s influence was instrumental for this. They suspected that the landlord was not seeking their well-being, and that he was lying to them purposefully. This suspicion made them break their agreement with the landlord, and their friendship broke down. They had the option to apologize for their mistake, but they didn’t. They only justified themselves. So their enmity stayed, and there was no reconciliation.
Let us also see another great story of reconciliation-- between the prodigal son and his father. He got his share of wealth from his father, and left home. Eventually, he wasted everything. When he had no other way to survive he returns to his father, apologizes for his misdeed, and begs to accept him as a servant. The father forgives him right away, and accepts him as his own son.
With the help of these stories, let us try to understand our own relationship with God. We humans have become enemies to God. Why? Has God done anything wrong to us? Not at all. We have grown suspicious of God. We misunderstand God. We suspect that God does not love us, God does not care for us. We mistake the natural calamities to be the expression of God’s anger toward us. As a result, we treat God as our enemy. In spite of our enmity toward God, God does not feel enmity toward us. So how do we get reconciled to God? Here the enmity is a one-way enmity, and it is caused by our misunderstanding. Reconciliation happens when the misunderstanding is cleared. Our misunderstanding that God hates us needs to be cleared. Once we realize the truth that God really loves us, we apologize to God for the misunderstanding, and God forgives us.
That God loves us unconditionally was the good news that Jesus proclaimed. Once we realize that God loves unconditionally, we love God back, and we also love each other. Once all people in the world realize this simple truth that God has no enmity toward us, we will not have enmity toward God or toward one another. Thus our world which has become like hell can become like heaven.
Unfortunately, most of the Christian churches believe that God has enmity toward us, and so God needs to be reconciled to us. But our common sense and a careful reading of the Bible makes it clear to us that God, like the father of the prodigal son, does not need to repent or reconcile. We the human beings, like the prodigal son, are the ones who need to repent and reconcile to God. As soon as we realize that God loves us unconditionally, and we admit our mistake of misunderstanding God's love for us, we are forgiven right away.