Reconciliation in Practice
I have an acquaintance who embodies the essence of reconciliation. His strength astounds me. He continually, and pointedly, states the hard realities while also holding onto a love for others; a love that is often hard to cultivate when great pain and isolation has been or is currently present.
We are both part of a group that welcomes discussion around the difficult, hotly debated topics of life and Christianity. The discussions we’ve both been a part of surround racial equality and LGBTQ+ inclusion. As you might imagine, the conversation can get terse and frustrating. My admiration lies in this individual’s ability to honor the person behind the, often, curt words. He doesn’t back down on justice and inclusion, but he still finds a way to point people towards a loving path without dismissing them for their hurtful words. He’s straight forward, but not dismissive; fiercely loving rather than apathetic. He comes from a place of wrestling with who he is and has found what he’s worth. And he’s passing that love on to others, even those who are hurtful.
Reconciliation in practice looks for the person behind their words and actions. When both parties to the hurt can look at personhood in greater focus than spoken words, reconciliation is possible. There has to be an effort to hold the person despite themselves; cutting through the relational brambles, and enabling an imagination for the building of relationship.
Achingly hard? Yes, the longest, most painful process we will ever engage. And one with, perhaps, the least certain outcome of any endeavor. It’s similar to Jesus life, death, and resurrection. He came, freely offering all his love and redemption, a kind of ultimate reconciliation with himself. Yet, we also have the choice to refuse him, which we all do to a greater or lesser degree – daily. Likewise, our hearts must become comfortable enough with who we are and what we’re worth to have the strength to offer reconciliation, and then to respond with honor for their personhood when our invite to reconciliation is rejected. It is this very reality that paves the way for later reconciliation, and an atmosphere of reconciliation for those around us to enter. By honoring personhood, an environment conducive to reconciliation is created.
Photo Credit: Ashkan Forouzanid
We are aware of the magnitude of this subject matter and the inadequate brevity of this post. For more, please reference our podcasts, our 1Community groups, or feel free to email us at Uniquelythesame@mission1race.org.
We also wish to address our inability to consider issues of sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse in our discussions on developing oneness. If you are in an abusive situation of any kind, we encourage you to seek professional and other help; and to realize that this content does not necessarily apply to your situation.