RECONCILING moments, situations, conflicts and relationships is the major life task. None of us is immune to the hurts that come so frequently with ferocity in life. Yet, when we show we can overcome these hurts using a tried-and-tested method that is easily learned, and practiced with persistence, we find we have overcome our world in Jesus’ name (see John 16:33).
Here is a biblical four-step process of movements, an established wisdom, for the reconciliation of relationships:
Looking upward in conflict is learning that the first step is the goal of glorifying God.
As we started to look up, finding ourselves appropriately positioned to do the next three steps, we committed to continuing to look up. God’s Holy Spirit works miracles from this position of our heart.
Looking inward is about making our best self-assessment regarding what my contribution to the conflict is. We get the log out of our own eye, to use Jesus’ own words (Matthew 7:3-5). We establish a desire to work out what our unmet demands were. Before we approach the other person. Because if we’ve got something to apologise for, we go to the other person in the conflict in a state of sustainable humility.
The other person won’t listen to us unless we’ve owned our part of the conflict.
Having readied ourselves to apologise for what we did wrong or failed to do, we go outward to the other person, who generally reciprocates – if they see we’re sincere in simply owning our fault. If they still don’t own their part of the conflict we do not yet have reconciliation. They may need time or they may never reciprocate. All in God’s timing, which we’re blessed to accept. Whatever they do, we have glorified God all-the-more in being honest about our contribution, being prepared to leave it at that, in faith. And yet if there is reciprocation, we have the last step in view.
Looking onward to a future bulging with hope, reconciliation as a vision is achieved when both parties have reckoned the results of conflict and have redeemed their contributions. Parties can indeed then look onward as trust between them is enhanced.
Reconciliation first looks upward (GOD),
then inward (MY sin),
then outward (YOUR sin),
then onward (US loved).