No reconciliation without trust

Some peace-loving Christians are irritated when they hear preachers denounce injustice and oppression. ‘We do not want more tension and strife, we want peace and reconciliation.’ Fine. We all want that. But how do we arr

ive at that goal?
Not by burying our heads in the sand. Not by refusing to confront the reality of what actually happened or is still happening.
Let us look at a parallel example: if a married couple want to make peace after a violent argument, will they obtain peace by pretending she never shouted evil words at him and he never cruelly hit and hurt her?
There can be no reconciliation and peace unless the warring parties confront the truth. That is why South Africa had its Truth and Reconciliation Commission: those who wanted to be forgiven and pardoned first had to tell the truth of what they did to their victims.
That is also basically what we do in Confession if we want to be forgiven by our merciful Lord: we have to confess what we did, where we failed, have to “spill the beans” as it were, without trying to hide anything, or come up with false excuses, before we can be forgiven.

There is no reason why we should hide the truth since we are confident that our Lord is indeed a God of mercy and compassion, not of uncontrolled anger and malice. So we have nothing to be afraid of. We can afford to be open and honest, and then we will receive the forgiveness and peace we long for.
There cannot be lasting peace in our society and in our country unless those responsible for our present suffering own up. Peace cannot be built on lies and pretence. In the midst of so many lies someone has to speak the truth, even if it hurts. This is not a matter of “opening up old wounds”. It is a matter of first acknowledging that there are severe wounds as yet unhealed and in need of healing.
Jesus asks us to “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us”. We are asked to pray for our enemies, those who harm us and make us suffer. May we also pray for the death of our enemies? May we say, “Lord, take them away from us”? Sentiments expressed in such prayers are humanly very understandable.

But maybe we should leave it to the Lord over life and death to determine the time of our tormentors’ departure from this life. Let us pray for their conversion and for an end to the suffering they cause. Above all, let us free our hearts from all malice and hatred. That alone will change this world in the long run. – In touch Jesuit Communications.

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