An exclusive focus on the end times and fulfillment of prophecy or on justice and liberation can never be the full picture. Pursuing either one alone, outside the context of the cross, will lead to violence, exclusion and rejection. Whatever our theology, we have to remember God’s love, and God’s commandment for us to love each other. Our aim should be unity through Christ’s love and through the cross, as Jesus called for in John 17:21, saying, “that all of them [believers] may be one, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
The Bible is full of stories of humans interacting with God. Among these interactions, we see hurting people turning to God: asking why, asking for healing or mercy, and pouring out their hearts to God in their confusion and pain. Hannah, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Peter, Jonah, and even Jesus expressed strong feelings to God and those around them. Psalm 32:3 says “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” Part of dealing with strong emotions of pain and hurt is letting it out, and expressing it to God and trusted friends.
Memory makes us who we are. In the course of our conflict, painful memories have shaped who we are and who we are becoming. But in reconciliation, non- remembrance and a certain type of forgetting play a constructive role in our perception of the world and our conflicts. In order to remember rightly, we must remember that memory is provisional, and be willing to remember redemptively and truthfully, embracing self-criticism and doubt when confronted with clashing ‘truths,’ and be willing to see with ‘double vision’ from both our own perspective and the other’s perspective. It is not an easy task, but it is a challenge we must undertake for the purpose of reconciliation.
Musalaha takes the opinion that forgiveness is a unilateral decision, and releasing one’s negative feelings toward the offender is necessary, regardless of the offender’s willingness to repent. God will hold the offender responsible for their actions.
In this article we examine power and try to define it, looking at different kinds of power and how they appear in our lives. Different sources of power are also discussed, and we explore how power relates to people in conflict with each other, especially concerning the imbalance of power. Obviously, those who have greater power have the ability to affect those with lesser power; however, as we will see in this chapter, everyone has power to a certain extent, and the ability to make their power felt. We analyze the different ways power can be put to dangerous uses, as well as its positive aspects, and try to look internally at our own lives and situations to see what our relationship to power is.
This article will discuss some of the obstacles to reconciliation, including physical, emotional, psychological and ideological obstacles. The information provided is by no means comprehensive, and will primarily focus on the obstacles we find most common in our work.
When we look at the dynamics of conflict, there are a number of important factors which can contribute to the continuation of a conflict, but can also contribute to its resolution and reconciliation between the two sides. Among these factors are History and Narrative. This article will start by trying to define both history and narrative, looking closely at their similarities and differences, and especially how they relate and operate in a conflict situation. The focus will primarily be on narrative, and we will look at some practical examples of how narrative is expressed by Israelis and Palestinians, the challenges they pose, and how these challenges can be overcome.
Conflict can be most simply defined as disagreement between people. To expand on this a little more, “Conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals.”(1) While it naturally occurs due to our interaction with others and as a result of our human subjectivity, what is important is how we deal with the conflict that arises.
In Musalaha’s second stage of reconciliation, Opening Up, the first thing we encounter is the issue of identity- both our own, and that of the other. Identity is a key component in relationship building and reconciliation, because it provides the basis of understanding and a foundation from which to build. If we do not understand ourselves and why we think and operate the way we do, we will have a hard time identifying these traits in others, especially those who do not share our social or personal identities.
Over the past several months we have been working to update some of the chapters in our curriculum of reconciliation Some of the issues we have been researching further are the meeting of justice and reconciliation (there can be no reconciliation without justice, and not justice without reconciliation), and how forgiveness relates tot eh public and political spheres. I have been going through Donald Shriver, Jr.’s bookAn Ethic for Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics. While forgiveness sounds like a religious concept to many people, justice often does not, something that Shriver attributes to theologians. Reinhold Niebuhr, one of the most politically oriented contemporary theologians, has advocated for justice as a political virtue while downplaying the importance of forgiveness, relegating it to the sphere of sentimentalism, outside of realpolitik. Shriver argues for the importance of forgiveness in public discourse, avoiding common misconception of forgiving as forgetting. Instead he advocates the slogan "Remember and forgive."