OpEd, Politics

The Concept of Forgiveness and Reconciliation

By Joseph Akim Gordon

Forgiveness and reconciliation are related but distinct concepts; forgiveness is the act of pardoning someone for an offence, and it is an interior discipline that can be practiced individually or in relationships. Reconciliation is the ending of conflict and renewing of relationships; it is an outward process that requires repentance, accountability, and dialogue. Forgiveness can create the opportunity for reconciliation, but reconciliation is not always possible or desirable. Forgiveness and reconciliation can also be applied to larger social contexts.

Forgiveness does not always lead to reconciliation; sometimes, when a relationship is difficult, hostile, not supportive, or toxic, we forgive and get out of the way, not because our offender deserves it but to normalize the relationship. The Bible says that forgiveness is a unilateral promise, but reconciliation involves bilateral promises. In order for a relationship to be reconciled, not only must the offended party make the promises for forgiveness, but the offending party must also repent of their sins, promise to continue in repentance, and bear fruits in keeping with their professed repentance (Matt. 3:8). Forgiveness is stopping feelings of resentment and anger against our sinners or wrongdoers, while reconciliation is embracing the sinners in our lives.

Forgiveness is principled decision-making. The benefit of forgiveness is that you need to start a social relationship on healthy ground. It can make you have peace of mind, improve relationships, reduce conflicts in our community and in the country, avoid holding grudges against other people, and have love.

The negative impact of holding grudges might bring back anger and bitterness in every relationship. Forgiveness is a commitment to a personalized process of change that is beneficial in social relationships.

Forgiveness is very difficult, particularly when partners, such as a wife or husband, cheat on one another. It is extremely hard to forgive, and in many cases, it ends up in divorce. Before reaching that final decision, you need to think about your children because children need both the love of their mother and father; otherwise, they will bear the sins of their parents.

For this reason, both parents must seek forgiveness and reconcile for the sake of their children. So, for the sake of the children, the parents must be trustworthy and honest, never repeating the same mistake, and rebuild their marriage relationship.

When an individual commits an offence, he or she should acknowledge, accept, and take responsibility for the hurt you caused, be truthfully sorry for their action, and promise never to repeat similar offences in the future. The emotional benefit of forgiveness offers many positive psychological developments, such as reducing unhealthy anger and repairing valuable relationships. This will enable you to build up a new happy relationship, and such relationships will breed some socio-economic relationships that will affect opening a new relationship. In a psychological sense, forgiveness is an intentional and voluntary process by which one, who may initially feel victimized, goes through a change in feelings and attitudes in a given situation.

The benefits of forgiveness are many: better physical health, improved mental health, a stronger immune system, and fewer symptoms of depression, just to name a few. Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender and building a new relationship. Forgiveness and reconciliation can wipe out some misconceptions; they can also help reduce or stop tension that is likely to lead to confrontation and war. As we also know, the tension that is looming might encourage war to occur, so it is important that those who are already on war footing Negotiation to resolve conflict peacefully is a better option because, as we all know, war is very destructive both to humans and properties.

In war, people become blind to inflicting great danger on innocent people. That’s why the concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation are paramount in order to cement peace in the country. As war is destructive, we must not allow or start war because war is difficult to wage and is very expensive and time-consuming to achieve peace. The best option is never to start war. Employ every avenue for reconciliation and forgiveness, which is an easy option and less expensive than waging war with very destructive consequences, so let South Sudan opt for forgiveness and reconciliation. So, look, our neighbor Sudan started war a month ago, and now the destruction of human life and property is great. Both sides in the war are unhappy with the level of destruction so far, and they are prepared to do more damage to the country. So, South Sudan, be alert not to opt for war because war is very destructive and will wipe out all the development you have made over the years.

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