FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION

When we look at our world, we can see much need for forgiveness and reconciliation. Conflict is not just about war and violence. All of us regularly face some level of conflict in our relationships at work or home. Conflict can sometimes be a positive thing, such as when we fight against injustice and stand up for our rights and the rights of others. However, more often conflict is destructive. So much money and time is spent addressing the results of conflict, such as rebuilding houses and infrastructure and providing medical treatment for physical injuries. Yet the psychological wounds and the underlying causes of conflict are rarely dealt with.

In Matthew 6:14, it is clear that God asks us to forgive others, as he has forgiven us. Forgiveness is not a natural reaction when someone has hurt us. It is a choice we need to make if we are to be free of bitterness, and if we want to move forward and break out of the cycle of violence and blame. Forgiveness is essential for reconciliation, but reconciliation goes beyond words, into action, to restore the broken relationship. It is a process that requires the willing participation and commitment of both sides.

In this issue we look at different aspects of forgiveness, and practical ideas for how we can support each other and work through the process of reconciliation.

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 68 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 68, please click here (456KB)


  • Bible study: ‘Forgive as the Lord forgave you’

    Forgiving others is not optional for Christians; it is a command. In Matthew 6:12, Jesus taught us to pray, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’. He made it clear that God’s offer of forgiveness is inseparable from our willingness to forgive others. So what is the nature of this link?

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  • Case studies: Forgiveness

    Om Kheun forgives Chrang Bak is a village built on the rubbish-strewn edge of the Bassac river near Phnom Penh, in Cambodia. Om Kheun is a local shopkeeper. Perhaps she is a better neighbour than businesswoman, because when poor neighbours come to buy food on credit, she cannot refuse. People from all over the neighbourhood come to her for advice as well as goods. She understands their problems because she is poor too. Om Kheun later became a Christian. She read in the Bible that Jesus calls us to forgive those who have wronged us. With this new insight, she examined her heart and saw that there was something wrong there, something that was spoiling her relationships in the village. Over the years she had extended a lot of credit to other families. The amounts had grown so large that few of the poorest families would ever be able to repay her. And this created a double problem. Deep down she realised she felt angry and frustrated with those who owed her so much. She could be so much…

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  • Healing through listening

    by Angus Murray Our beliefs about ourselves, other people and our world help us to make sense of our experiences and the world around us. We build our beliefs through our own experiences or inherit them from our family or culture. Unless challenged, we are often not even aware of them. They simply appear to us as just ‘normal’, or the way things are.

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  • Learning to resolve conflict

    by Duberney Rojas Seguro Medellín, in Colombia, is a city in desperate need of conflict resolution. It has suffered from two decades of armed conflict between criminal gangs, socialist guerrillas and paramilitary groups. Murders are common. This conflict has directly impacted on the lives of a generation of children and young people who have been born and have grown up in this context of violence. Many of the armed groups are formed of young people of both sexes, between 14 and 25 years ...

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  • Letters

    Protecting crops from birds We are trying to protect our rice crops from bird pests. Rice is a major crop here. We are finding it very difficult to control and avoid the threat from birds. Farmers are staying in the fields all day to chase away the birds. This tires them and prevents other domestic activities. Can you provide us with technical advice so that our farmers can grow their rice, sleep peacefully and also develop more effective techniques for controlling these predators without ...

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  • Malanda: Prayer, action, reconciliation

    by Sadiki Byombuka There has been war in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996. This conflict has many different causes, including the fight for political power, struggle for control over natural resources, bad governance, and ethnic and tribal differences.

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  • Marriage relationships

    Conflict is not just about open warfare. Conflict exists in human relationships at all levels. Family Impact is a Christian organisation that works to transform communities through family and relationship counselling.

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  • Resources

    Peace-building within our communities This ROOTS book looks at tools for peace-building and conflict transformation work. It contains case studies of peace and reconciliation work in communities. It is available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

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  • Seeing hope and bringing people together

    by Bal Kumari Rai Gurung Forgiveness is not as easy to practise as it is to preach, but it is an essential step towards reconciliation and living in harmony. Forgiveness includes letting go of the hurts and resentments we keep within ourselves. Forgiveness is difficult. It requires energy and time, yet it is possible to achieve if people really put their heart and soul into it. United Mission to Nepal (UMN) is an international Christian development organisation working in Nepal. We work in ...

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