We always talk about reconciliation in peace building and conflict resolution. But when attempting to write this blog, I had to look up the word.

Reconciliation: “the action of making one view or belief compatible with another”

In our session with Joseph Bock, he asked us a question: “ Where is reconciliation initiated?” It was brought up that it starts when the victim forgives the perpetrator. This was so hard to see how the reconciliation starts by victim forgiving the perpetrator. For me, a big question is how does a victim move from being angry, and mad and upset to forgiving the perpetrator. Even more challenging is when the conflict took place in the first place due to incompatible views and beliefs. Then what is the incentive for the victim to go back to reconcile and forgive the perpetrator?

The discussions left me puzzled and provoked me. I remembered speaking to one of the other students from our program about reconciliation. She had some great insights on it. In a short conversation, she mentioned that “not everything can be fixed”, “If one if not reconciled to the truth, then one should work with something to be able to move on”. A short conversation helped me wrap my head around this concept. Yes, not all views and beliefs can be compatible at all times. Not every relationship can be restored to how it was before the conflict. And most importantly we should all be able to move on for our own sakes.

Going back to Joseph Bock’s session, he said that when a victim and perpetrator reconcile, they go to a new place. I believe that is true. And that exactly is reconciliation, to work with something and go to a new place.

My biggest take away from the sessions on reconciliation was that as human beings we should be able to reconcile for our own sake. Holding on to something leaves us angry and mad and broken. In order to set ourselves free, we have to work with our conflicts and incompatible views and beliefs.

Joseph Bock ended the session with a beautiful quote that summarizes my blog:

“Continue to love each other like brothers and sisters and remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”