Healing rifts; finding forgiveness and reconciliation

by Rod Smith

A few thoughts about forgiveness and reconciliation in a family

  • No matter what the cause of the schism, breakdown, or avoidance in a family, it takes the stronger, the most mature family member (nothing to do with age) to initiate healing and the conversations necessary for it to occur. Adding a little humility is also very helpful.
  • When divided family members are focused on who started it (the fight, the division) or who is at fault, the family is not ready or sufficiently mature for reconciliation. The person who wants forgiveness and reconciliation will be more focused on healing than on what caused the problems. Humility helps.
  • Forgiveness takes one person; reconciliation requires at least two. The more mature person (nothing to do with age) can forgive before the other person (less mature) is ready to be reconciled. Humility can be the bridge.
  • Family estrangement, except in extreme or unusual circumstances (a history of violence or any form of abuse) serves no one well. Enduringly emotional health is almost impossible for the person who is cut off from his or her family of origin. Humility heals.
  • Expressing the willingness for reconciliation to a loved one is often the first step of vulnerability and humility that starts the process of necessary healing.

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