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Reconciliation transforms damaged relationships into relationships of trust

Written by Richard Serrano 2023

A woman, a small boy and a young girl sit on a bed in their home in Colombia and look at a Bible together

A Venezuelan family in Colombia read the Bible together. Photo: Luis Alvarez/Tearfund

In Burundi, a smiling man stands in the middle of a group of seated women who are dressed in colourful clothes

From: Peace and reconciliation - Footsteps 121

Actions we can take to help build peace and foster reconciliation in our homes and communities

The Bible tells us that God created a good and peaceful world. One in which human beings could live in fellowship and harmony with God, and with each other. 

But human disobedience broke the peace, resulting in damaged relationships and conflict (Genesis 3).

Despite this, God did not give up on us. He loves us so much that he sent Jesus to ‘reconcile to himself all things… by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross’ (Colossians 1:20). 

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17–21

The word ‘reconcile’ means to bring together – or heal – that which was broken. This healing is much more than the absence of conflict. Reconciliation is about the transformation of damaged relationships into relationships of trust.

In a world where there is so much conflict and division, the church is called to be a community of peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus – and the forgiveness this brings – we have been given a message and ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18–19).

When we work for peace and reconciliation, we:

  • imitate the loving character of God, wanting the best for people
  • resist the claims of people, ideas, systems and structures that go against God’s purposes
  • share the joyful message of reconciliation with God through Jesus 
  • offer people hope

Reconciliation is not easy. It requires humility, time and patience. But as the Holy Spirit helps us let go of the destructive power of past hurts and unforgiveness, we can help others to do the same. 

Discussion questions

  • When do you see people in conflict in your home, church or community?
  • What causes these conflicts?
  • What actions can you take to build peace in these situations and help people reach a place of reconciliation?
  • Is there anyone in your own life who you need to reach out to for reconciliation? How will you do this?

Written by

Written by  Richard Serrano

Richard Serrano is a Theology and Network Engagement Advisor with Tearfund in Latin America

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