How do you approach a person you’ve hurt and start it all again? What if the pain caused is so large you can’t even see a way to move past it?
Reconciliation takes both parties (the one who hurt and the one hurt) to work. Both have to want to heal and move on. Both have to take the proper steps or it just won’t work. If only one of the parties is prepared, any connection that can be made would eventually become toxic. If such a toxic relationship continues it will eventually lead to abuse.
The purpose of reconciliation is to make light of an offense. But the issue many have is the path taken to get there. Sometimes, those who wound skip the path altogether and just make the offense light from the start. This leads to a repeated cycle of anguish, one that both parties may never leave.
Sometimes, those wounded one brings a past pain up over and over again. This also leads to another viscous cycle.
An extreme form of these vicious cycle is that of abuse.
The Party Who Wounds
Reconciliation must start with the party who caused the anguish. They must make a clear and honest apology. From that apology, repent, change your thinking, and move away from the pain that was caused.
The Party Wounded
It is the right and the delight of the wounded party to then accept the apology. Then and only then can the issue be made light of by the wounded party. They must forgive and give grace and mercy to the one who wounded them.
Reconciliation Done Right
If both parties do this and stick to it, if the party who wounds truly repents and turns away from the anguish they caused, and if the party wounded truly forgives and puts it all in the past demonstrating godly grace, reconciliation can work and the wound can be healed.
Great friendships and deep relationships can sprout from this!
Reconciliation Done Wrong
This happens when one of the party refuses to either forgive or repent. Any relationship that comes out of this will be toxic.
If the party who wounds makes light of their sin and the party wounded accepts this false apology too soon, a recurring wound will occur.
If the party wounded does not truly forgive, if they bring it up again and again, then the first party will never be able to move past it.
Billy and Jake are playing in the playground. Billy hits Jake and Jake cries. Billy calls Jake a crybaby making light of his punch. This is a type of gas lighting.
How would a teacher respond to this? She’d likely make Billy ask for forgiveness and promise to never do it again. Jake would then have to forgive.
Let’s say Jake says he forgives and Billy never hits him again, but Jake keeps bringing it up making Billy feel bad. They will never be close friends.
If Billy keeps making light of hitting Jake and continues to hit him, the relationship should just stop. It is toxic and both parties need to move on. This is a minor example of physical abuse.
If Billy does repent but Jake can’t move past it and keeps bringing it up, the relationship should just stop. It is toxic and both parties need to move on. This is a minor example of verbal abuse.
If one of the parties exhibits both verbal and physical abuse… well… the relationship should really stop. It is toxic and both parties need to very much move on.
There must be a meeting of some sort: zoom chat, coffee talk, email, message, or some other spoken or written way. The wounded party may want to explain why they were hurt.
A clear apology is extremely important for reconciliation. You must face the person you hurt and you must apologize with words written or spoken. I know this makes yourself vulnerable so you should be wise on who you choose to reconcile with. Choose a forgiving person and truly repent. Don’t make light of your offense at all. Be brutally honest with yourself. Clearly speak or write this out to the wounded party. Be sure that they have received this and do whatever you can to reach them.
Both parties may need to go through this, as both have caused anguish. You can’t hint at this now, you must be bold, honest, and clear.
This is the only way to start a fresh relationship with someone you’ve wounded. Please, I can’t stress this enough. You must be clear. You must make a connection. It can’t be done with hints or gas lighting. It must be done honestly.
Move away from this darkness friend. Reach out to me. I can’t wait to forgive you and make light of your offense. I hope you can’t wait to do the same for my offenses. Let us move away from this toxic behavior. Let us talk and reconcile. I’m waiting for you.