In our personal relationships, our families, and our nation, the only way forward when sin is present is to walk the path of reconciliation. Some think the way forward is finding guilt and bringing punishment. That can be a painful part of the process, but it is only right and honoring if reconciliation is the ultimate goal.
The writer of Proverbs wrote, “Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation” (Proverbs 14:9). Any process that limits its efforts to only exposure and punishment without the goal of reconciliation will be working against the heart of God. This is how political and religious spirits function. They miss the “godly” part of Proverbs 14:9 where we are called to both acknowledge a wrong and offer a course toward reconciliation.
Imagine today that we lined before us all those we know who are guilty of something. What if we had all the “goods” on them in a way that denial was impossible and punishment inevitable? The mob of accusers who surround the guilty is loud and self-righteous. Against this tide of damnation, it seems impossible that an offer of reconciliation would be possible or even safe to propose amidst the foment, but that is the way of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus did this when He offered a correction to a religious mob ready to stone to death someone caught in the act of a grievous sin, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7). In our emotionally over-heated culture where everyone thinks they and the crowd they follow has the right take on life, making that kind of statement takes the kind of courage only found in a godly, reconciling heart.