AS I promised, this is my last quality of healthy families column. I have given you three of these and I am certain in my heart that those who read have been blessed. Reconciliation is very foundational in a family or even in a nation. I have seen families that have been destroyed because people could not reconcile and I have seen nations that have been destroyed too.
By Kilton Moyo
Our own dear nation is on the edge and if it does not embrace true reconciliation, it is bound to live under an illusion of peace. I intend showing you a few things that can hinder true reconciliation in a family, but are also applicable at national level.
Reconciliation lies at the heart of the gospel of Christ. I mean we cannot even call ourselves a Christian people if we cannot reconcile. Reconciliation is a divine and redemptive way of dealing with hurts and failures. It is more than just getting along. It requires a deliberate effort to deal with problems or perceived problems. Letting things go can be dangerous in that it creates not peace, but an illusion of peace and underneath that illusion, very destructive storms can be brewing. There are those of us, who believe that not dealing with issues of pain and hurts over a long period of time will eventually bring healing. This is an illusion. Healing comes when we are deliberate in dealing with our hurts and pains.
Sweeping such under the carpet is suicidal. How many times have you heard of families, who sweep under the carpet the raping of children by relatives? Their belief is that it will just disappear like that. Well, the truth is that it will not disappear. It remains hidden inside and one day it blows out. It can blow out as suicide or outright murder. Have you read the story of Absalom, the son of David, whose sister was raped by his half-brother? David did not attempt reconciling the family then and let things go. Absalom stayed hurt and planned murder and eventually killed his brother and hated his father.
This is what happens when families hide such issues and fail to work on true reconciliation. True reconciliation can only happen when you face up to issues of pain, hurt and shame. As I write and, as you read, you might be knowing a family that is about to collapse because they are not opening up to true reconciliation. What are the barriers to true reconciliation?
The unwillingness to let go the harm that has been done to you. Not letting go of your victim status feeling that it is more satisfying than whatever alternatives might be. There are people, who think that by not letting go, their hurt, they are fixing the perpetrator. This is where deception lies. Many people would choose to dwell in pain and shame of the harm done to them and fail to live their lives. There could be many reasons for keeping grudges, but one of them is the desire for revenge. Many families or societies are collapsing right here and something has to be done to turn hurt into passion for life.
Not wanting to build trust after a betrayal even when the offender is truly sorry
Just because he or she did this, then the assumption is that he or she will always do it. The person is rejected and cannot be trusted no matter how much sorry they are. Human nature has a tendency of holding onto the first cut of pain and never let go. This is the struggle that, as Christians, we must overcome. True reconciliation builds trust. Do you know you can trust that person again? Have they said sorry and are they showing true remorse? Please give them back their life and receive yours in return.
Offender not truly sorry or feigning pity so they are granted forgiveness
This is one big enemy of reconciliation, particularly in an African context. Many offenders fail to apologise or they pretend so they can be forgiven. Pride is the biggest problem here. You are not saying sorry to your loved ones because you are proud and selfish. Selfishness can rob the whole family or nation of peace. Many of our people have not learnt humility. A humble person will say sorry to the family and really seek to change. Egocentric and proud people can either say sorry, but do not change or refuse to say sorry and choose to destroy a family.
The biggest enemies of reconciliation are personal choices and have to do with the heart condition of the offender and the offended. Selfishness and pride have cost so many families and nation the much-needed peace.
Reconciliation works by repentance and forgiveness. Most people are not willing to forgive and repent making peace-building at home difficult. Many families have been destroyed here. Our motivation as families is to model our lives on the life of God’s family and open ourselves to His Grace. It is by grace that we are saved.
It will take willing hearts to build families that manifest these four foundational qualities. Hospitality, compassion, justice and reconciliation make the family system complete and godly.
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Kilton Moyo is creator of Fruitful Marriages, a renewal and enrichment programme and is pastor, counsellor and author of Marriage Fitness. Call or whatsapp on +263 775 337 207, +263 772 610 103 firstname.lastname@example.org.