Brangelina and irreconcilable differences
Brangelina – the sad case with some lessons for us too
Through the eyes of the media, the world saw Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, or “Brangelina”, as the perfect celebrity couple. Glamorous together, individually attractive, hugely wealthy, sought after in Hollywood, yet socially and politically aware and active. They faced the personal challenge of breast cancer with composure and grace.
As humanitarian ambassadors, they raised publicity and funds for the plight of many of the world’s minority groups and poorest. Even their large ‘united nations’ family of natural and overseas adopted children spoke of their commitment in action.
Why then, with such an envious “resume” and after 12 years together, 6 children and 2 years of marriage are Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt divorcing? What happened to the Brangelina dream?
Irreconcilable differences. Not being able to reconcile. Or in very basic terms – not being able to work things out and get along with each other. To the point that they do not wish to be married to each other anymore. How very sad for two otherwise committed and talented people and their 6 children.
But isn’t the impact of sin in our world just like that? It damages people and breaks relationships.
How wonderful that there is no such thing as ‘irreconcilable differences’ with God!
Jesus is the means of our reconciliation to God.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
Reconciliation is God’s top priority.
He modelled this costly calling by sending his own son, Jesus Christ to die in our place to satisfy the wages of sin (Romans 6:23). By God paying the price of justice, we can be reconciled with Him and be released into ministry as ‘ambassadors of reconciliation’. In fact, as we are active peacemakers in our relationships with others, this is a powerful witness to the impact that relationship with God has had in our life. It shows how deeply we value relationships, and makes it more likely that others will be interested in having a relationship with God too.
This is God’s gift and command to us all – that we can be people who lead people to peace and relationship with God, and that we are people who pursue peace and relationship with others too. This applies for all of us – including Brad & Angelina, you and me! It is a life-changing, life-saving, truth.
What about reconciliation and me?
If you are in a conflict or know someone who is, the Bible sets out a framework to encourage and promote reconciliation.
With the help of God and because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you can be an agent (ambassador) of reconciliation. As a committed ‘reconciler’, you can catch yourself and also help others to avoid jumping to the conclusion that the conflicts we face are irreconcilable and beyond hope. On the contrary, they can provide real opportunities for growth, to serve others and also for pointing people to Jesus himself.
Let’s not just wish that friends “make up”, but earnestly pray and be an active, encouraging, loving and gracious ‘reconciler’. Let’s encourage them to reconcile with others. And if we’ve learnt how to ‘conflict coach’ them, let’s share the blessings of what we’ve learned in practical peacemaking too.
You never know what the results of serving someone in this way might be…
To find out more about what the Bible has to say about responding to conflict and being a reconciler, read Chapter 9 of The Peacemaker (Ken Sande).
(Over this year, through each edition of Peace It Together, we will be sharing the basic peacemaking principles as covered in each chapter of the book, The Peacemaker (by Ken Sande).)