Change takes place over long periods of time and after substantial effort. Nonetheless, change is not impossible. It can and does happen. Once a group or community has progressed upon the pathway to long-term change, the attributes, behaviors, thoughts, and perspective of the desired change must become deeply integrated into the culture of the community.
A justice which includes reconciliation can only be achieved through embrace. “The clenched fist hinders perception of the justice of others and thereby reinforces injustice; the open arms help detect justice behind the rough front of seeming injustice and thereby reinforce justice.
The message of Jesus’ teaching is one that has meaning for us today, especially for those of us who live in a conflict setting. Our identities based on gender, ethnicity, language, culture or belief must give way to a more inclusive identity in the Messiah.
When speaking about reconciliation, justice is very important. We have discussed a number of different issues up to this point, such as forgiveness and power, but they are all to be understood in the context of justice. To speak of justice implies that injustice exists, and injustice hints at conflict, so essentially justice is crucial to conflict, conflict resolution and reconciliation.
Discouragement is a part of the journey of reconciliation. The process is not easy, and often the emotional toll it takes on participants is high. Involvement in reconciliation, opening up and expressing your opinion, hearing challenging teachings, sometimes having your presuppositions challenged—these all require emotional commitment and emotional engagement from participants.
The proper goal of the memory of wrongs suffered—its appropriate end—is the formation of the communion of love between all people, including victims and perpetrators.
During this Easter and Passover season, people from around the world will be flocking to Jerusalem. This year will be especially crowded as Easter for both church calendars in the Western and Eastern traditions falls on the same day.
As discussed in our previous article on identity, our identity is formed through a process of exclusion and inclusion, differentiation and identification. But in conflicts, the differences tend to become sharp, demarcated lines that exclude the other from walking alongside us.
As followers of Christ, we are called to live at peace with all people, regardless of their customs or beliefs. We are all brothers and sisters because we are all made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26–27), and we are called to be peacemakers, to bless our enemies, even when they persecute us.
The Bible is full of stories of humans interacting with God. Among these interactions, we see hurting people turning to God: asking why, asking for healing or mercy, and pouring out their hearts to God in their confusion and pain.