Hence if anyone is in the Anointed he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; look: They have become new. And all things come out of God, who through the Anointed has reconciled us to himself, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation: So that God was in the Anointed reconciling the cosmos to himself, not accounting their trespasses to them, and placing in us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors on the Anointed’s behalf, of such a kind that God makes supplication through us: for the sake of the Anointed, we implore, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
Christians often speak of ‘salvation’ or ‘getting to heaven’ as their primary goal. The New Testament gives us a variety of goals for which we might strive including being united to God. In the above passage it is “reconciliation” which takes center stage as a main goal of the spiritual life. And it is not just a personal goal, but is the very purpose of the entire Church: “the ministry of reconciliation.” We are to be reconciled with God and also with our neighbors. Christ came into the world for the purpose of “reconciling the cosmos to himself.” Christ is not saving only humans but the entire create order by uniting everything in the universe to God.
Our experience of reconciliation begins with our own experience of Christ, but moves to our working on being reconciled to those around us. St Ephrem the Syrian is credited with saying:
Thus does the Lord speak to every soul: forgive your brother his transgressions, and I will forgive you your sins. You shall forgive minor errors, debts of perhaps a few coins or some three pence, and I will grant you thousands of talents. For you have only to forgive without presenting any gift; but I will forgive you your sins and grant you healing and the Heavenly Kingdom.
And I will accept your gift when you make peace with him who is at enmity with you. When you have no malice, when the setting sun does not find you angry, when you meet all with peace and love— then will your prayer be acceptable, and your offering pleasing, and your house will be blessed, and you also shall find blessing.
But if you do not make peace with your brother, then how will you ask me for forgiveness? I am your master; I command you and you do not heed Me. You are a servant; how dare you bring Me a prayer or a sacrifice, or first fruits of your harvest, if you bear malice toward anyone? If you turn your face from your brother, so shall I turn Mine eyes from your prayer and from your gift. (A SPIRITUAL PSALTER OR REFLECTIONS ON GOD, pp 39-40)