RECONCILIATION

AP.jpgHow well do you handle reconciliation?  Do you dread the process of making up?  Do you enjoy clinging to the pain of past hurts?  Does pride prohibit your assuming any responsibility for the conflict?  Perhaps it is the discomfort of having to initiate the opening of old wounds and the cleansing of festered relationships that frightens you away from the peace table.  Your hesitancy to apologize or suggest improved relationships may stem from your fear of being rejected.  There are numerous reasons why reconciliation is avoided.  Yet, it is one of life’s most rewarding experiences.  There is no joy like the joy of being friends again.  There is no love like the love from someone who has been estranged.  There is no peace like the peace of being accepted and restored.

How strange that something as beneficial to our emotional and physical health as reconciliation is postponed or ignored altogether.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemies because we never allow our enemies to become our friends again.  It is not so much that we keep returning evil for evil.  It is the fact that we do nothing to aid the peace process.  We suffer in silence and build up tons of unnecessary anger.  When a relationship is strained we read into every conversation and action the worst possible interpretation.  We sin against our own spiritual health by keeping a conflict alive in our imaginations when, in reality, a conflict no longer exists.

Jesus understood the dynamics of reconciliation and good relationships.  In essence He said if someone hits us on one cheek do not hit back but turn the other cheek.  In other words, someone has to take the last blow.  Someone has to say, “Enough is enough.  Let us stop hurting one another and begin to build a better relationship.” The truth of the matter is that life is not always fair.  Everything does not come out even.  Sometimes we have to give more than it seems we get.  However, when friendships are restored we all get more than we deserve.  It is a grace rebate and a bonus for having the courage to go the second mile.

3 thoughts on “RECONCILIATION”

  1. I was listening to a news report this morning about the fighting in Sudan, and found myself wondering what keeps the hatred and violence going for so many years. It often lasts for decades, and even generations. I agree with the message of your post, but don’t feel especially optimistic these days. Are we ever going to learn?

    1. On a global, species wide scale? I doubt it. Greed and the lust for power are so rampant that nations see no purpose in peace. Even within our own nation (USA: I can’t speak for Canada) politics have taken on such a level of viciousness and corruption that it amazes me.

      When I read Calvin’s words, I applied them on a much smaller scale: friends, relatives, co-workers. When feuds flare, instead of seeking “justice” through revenge and having the last word, someone has to take the last blow. Someone has to say, “Enough is enough. Let us stop hurting one another and begin to build a better relationship.” Of course, for that to work, both parties must be willing to cease hostilities. If one holds out his hand in an offer of peace, and the other cuts it off…

      But we must try, or at least those of us who believe the teachings of Jesus do. Others make their own rules and do what seems right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25) and that generally leads to chaos.

  2. I’m not very good at reconciliation with people who have hurt me, but I’m a firm believer in always letting them have the last poisonous word. If you don’t, it’ll never end. Then I retreat. I’m not sure it’s worth the stress it would cause me to try to revive something that doesn’t work, I have tried in the past only to set foot into a repeat performance.

    So even if nations or tribes or individuals would just agree to disagree and refuse to prolong the ill will (or bloodshed) it would make an enormous difference in the world.

    This essay has engendered further thought, and that’s always good.

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