Austrian author and poet Stefan Zweig once wrote, “In history, the moments during which reason and reconciliation prevail are short and fleeting.” In a world riddled with conflict, it seems that harmony is merely a lofty aspiration. Yet, Scripture encourages believers to strive for reconciliation. Many of the ways in which reconciliation prevail is through radical steps of one or both parties.
Prayer is a dominant theme throughout Scripture. We are called to pray for one another (James 5:16) as well as those who mistreat us (Luke 6:28). When we pray for someone, it brings the attention off our ill-will and rather helps us focus on what God wills us to do in the life of that person.
Related to prayer is the idea of confession. First John 1:9 emphasizes the importance of confessing to God what we have done wrong to demonstrate how sorry we are for what we did. When we are the offender, this step is key to reconciliation. When we have been offended, it is helpful to ask God to search our heart to see if we have erred.
Similar to confession is the act of repenting. Repentance requires leaving the old way of life and walking in a direction. This step is essential in reconciliation because it shows that there has been behavior modification.
After spending time seeking the Lord, it is necessary to talk with the person with whom we have the broken relationship. Beginning difficult conversations can be awkward and it is tempting to talk about the person rather than talk to them. However, confrontation is biblical and healthy (Matthew 18:15-17). When meeting with the person, it is helpful to remember James’ teaching to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.