Sometimes we slam the door behind us, we slam it so hard that we cannot turn back. This is not because we have not forgiven, memories of how we slammed those doors hold us back. Memories could be our greatest enemies, they keep us far away from reconciliation. It could be easier to say “forgive and forget” than to actually forget what was done. How then can we repair these memories? What can we do about them?
Sometimes our spouse says horrible things in the heat of the moment. There are times our children say hurtful things to us as parents and other times people we once respected act terribly. We forgive or allow time to heal our wounds but reconciliation may never occur.
What is Reconciliation?
The reestablishment of friendly relations; of atonement conciliation or rapprochement (theology). The end of estrangement between a human and God as a result of atonement; more specifically.
Just as Christ came to reconcile us to God, we have all been given a ministry of reconciliation. A large part of our existence requires brokering peace because there are several reasons for divisions even within a nuclear family. Understanding that distance and offense estrange us, should help the healing process. Reconciliation is required when there is a break in communion. Without communion, the bond of love is broken and family dies a gradual death.
There is no rule book for how reconciliation can be achieved but here are five things we can do:
1. Make amends: it is not advisable that we simply shake hands and forget the wrong that has been done. It may be necessary to open up and take actual steps to correct or amend the wrong that has been done.
2. Communicate: This usually comes before making amends, there is a need to reestablish communication. When trust is broken, communication becomes herculean and this usually contributes to the estrangement.
3. Take responsibility: there may be nothing more annoying than a person who blames other people or circumstances for their wrongdoing. Every party to a fight should own their mistakes and let the aggrieved individuals know they are aware of their wrongdoing. Don’t say “but if it was not for…..” just accept that you did something awful and make moves to rectify. AMEND.
4. Give Second Chances: Some of us are quite vengeful, we have steel armored doors guarding our hearts. The love of God is wider and bigger, if he forgives us our many transgressions then we should be ready to forgive people their fault.
5. Expect imperfection: being a perfectionist may be one of the attributes of those who find reconciliation difficult, sometimes we should make allowance for human flaws. People are bound to make mistakes and when we have this in mind, it becomes easier to make excuses for people and give second chances.
Jesus said if a person offends, we should forgive seventy times seven times which sounds quite impossible. I think the message in that statement is that we may be required to overlook and ignore as many faults as possible in pursuit of peace. When we desire peace, we may have to sacrifice our memories of the wrong done to us. It’s not like we do not remember the offense but we choose to make allowances for those we have chosen to love because Love in itself is a choice we make. Reconciliation requires us to make that choice daily!