Aim at Restoration
Several years ago, I attended a leadership retreat where we got an opportunity to spend a few days with Army Special Forces Green Berets. One of the demonstrations was of a team sniper shot.
With a sniper team, one soldier handles the weapon while the other calls the shot. The soldier with the firearm is locked and loaded. With his finger on the trigger, he aims at the target downrange.
The other soldier makes calculations and adjustments. He uses a high powered scope to observe blades of grass blowing in the breeze or maybe how a piece of clothing hangs on a distant line. He's calculating distance, caliber, wind direction, and speed. It's a work of making constant adjustments.
Finally, the sighting soldier gives clearance for the shot. And with the pull of a trigger, the target, hundreds of yards away, falls.
2 Corinthians is the final letter in a sometimes tense exchange between the Apostle Paul and a struggling church in the risque city of Corinth. In these letters, Paul confronts division in the church, heresy, their passive response to sexual sin, and their self-centeredness. He affirms them, but they concern him.
As hard as his words are, Paul shares his heart behind them in his closing comments.
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.2 Cor. 13:9
In the church, things can go wrong, people can go wrong, and we can get it wrong. But we are not called to be a people of cancellation, but restoration.
The word "aim" in 2 Cor. 13:9 says a lot about the process of restoration.
Restoration isn't something we wait for; it's something we must work toward. We get things back to right with intentionality, not passivity.
Restoration can be a long shot. We must be careful and precise with the process.
"Aim" means that along the way, we need to make adjustments. We can get sideways with emotion and accusation. The process can become tense, and we can easily lose sight of the target.
We are not aiming at one another. Restoration isn't possible when a person is a target. But like a sniper team, we are working together to aim at restoration. We are communicating and adjusting. We are not trying to kill one another with the Word of God. Restoration isn't about proving a person wrong, it's about making things right. We are working together with the Word of God to bring what's wrong back to right.
Bible Study and Challenge
Read 2 Corinthians 13.
- List the commands in the passage. How will you obey them?
- There are some promises in the passage. List them and believe them.
- How does this passage call for you to pray today?
Perhaps you are in a current situation where there is a strained relationship in need of reconciliation. Evaluate where things are and list ways that the process may have gone sideways. Are there emotions and misunderstandings that have interfered with your aim of restoration? What needs to happen so that the process of restoration can get back on track? Pray about the process and make those adjustments.