It Takes Two Tango… Or Reconcile

Paul Ward

In my last blog we looked at what happens when we hold onto offence and the difference made in our body, mind, spirit and soul when we ask Jesus to help us forgive the offender.

Paul’s teaching is pretty clear in Romans 12: 17-19 – we must leave it in God’s hands when we have been hurt or wronged even by fellow Christians. What they have done is not OK and is still wrong but our judgement of them is actually doing God’s job for him.

Forgiveness is a process and it takes time. We may have to repeatedly say “I forgive _____ for doing ______ to me”. Or “Lord help me to forgive them today”.

But what do we do when we work with this person and we are struggling to get over past hurts and wrongs? If we have repeatedly tried the above and it’s not working we need to implement the words of Jesus in Matthew 18: 15-17 sooner rather than later in a 3 step plan:

  1. After much prayer we go to them and we talk with them about the hurt or wrong that they are causing us. They are probably unaware of what they are doing and will be gutted that they have hurt you. They will hopefully say sorry and you will begin reconciliation. If they do not accept they may have hurt you or are justifying their actions then tell them you are still hurt and there can be no reconciliation until they accept their part in the hurt. You will need another meeting with a friend this time as a witness.
  2. At this next meeting you tell them the same as before. If there are new examples of hurt or wrong then add them to the list. How they respond will determine your next step. If they finally acknowledge they may have hurt you and say sorry, maybe even ask for your forgiveness then you are on the road to reconciliation. If they are still in that river in Africa – denial then the complaints need to go to the top.
  3. Take the wrongs to the head of your organisation, your vicar, director, CEO. There will be a formal policy about this kind of thing. After much prayer you must decide whether to make this formal using the grievance or anti-bullying policy or informally through mediation.

When all is said and done it may be possible to carry on at that place of work if reconciliation takes place. If there is no turning away from the hurts caused or the wrongs committed then it’s time to seek God for your future ministry away from where you are.

What isn’t up for negotiation is your forgiveness of them for the offences as we discussed earlier. It is a process and as we ask Jesus to help us it takes one (plus Jesus) to forgive and two to reconcile.

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