Monday, July 18, 2016

The 4 Stages of Reconciliation

As Christians, we have a ministry of reconciliation that imitates Christ's reconciliation for us. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 18 - we become new people in Christ; as a result of becoming a new creation, we are given the ministry of reconciliation which allows us to be reconcilers.

Being able to reconcile is something that is much needed in our culture for to reconcile is to restore harmony and cohesiveness; to be able to coexist. In our broader culture, we are bombarded with schism and friction, there is racial inequity and animosity. The climate is ripe for retaliation. This is not the recipe for reconciliation.

Brenda Salter McNeil has written on The 4 Stages of Reconciliation; she is a minister who travels the nation and speaks on racial reconciliation to a variety of audiences. She is first and foremost a Christian who noticed this racial divide in her life.

  1. Realization - An awareness that there is a grievance. An acknowledgment that there is a problem.
  2. Identification - Empathizing and understanding the aggrieved.
  3. Preparation - What are you prepared to do to reconcile? Are you prepared to go the distance towards reconciliation?
  4. Activation - The action(s) that are necessary for change. Putting in the effort and the work to make the change
These steps were identified as steps for racial reconciliation as it relates to institutions, but they are applicable for reconciliation in general.

Hard things are hard and reconciliation of any sort is hard. As reconcilers, we are imitating Christ - which means we'll get close to perfect but we're going to fail. In our own strength, we can't remove the barriers. We will get tired of fighting the good fight. We will be traumatized by all that we see happening around us. 

But before we deal with society, let's start with our homes and our relationships. Let's be reconciled with each other.  Then let's spread it to our communities until we are impacting the world. Oftentimes when there is a need for reconciliation there is a perception that one side is right and therefore the other side is wrong. Reconciliation says - we're both right; now where do we go from here. The purpose of reconciliation is to bring others to Christ. By being a vessel of reconciliation, others will see something different in us and want what we have. 

As believers, each one of us can allow Christ's spirit within us to give us the power to be reconcilers. It's like a tree with concentric circles - our ministry impacts those closest to us and spreads to have a broad impact.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.... 2 Corinthians 5:17, 18 [KJV]

When there is a breach, how do you reconcile? Do you use any of the steps above? Are you trying to affect change in society?

It's Monday - this post is inspired by what I heard on Sunday!!!!


  1. Thank you Brenda for this enlightenment. Reconciliation is so necessary to move beyond what America is currently experiencing.

  2. It is very insightful to say, in a relationship both are right. This has been very gestalt for me. It has helped me with a 42 yr old relationship I have considered leaving

  3. How do you start the process when the other person thinks they are only right one and you are wrong, please help.

    1. All of us due to ego issues..seeking acceptance... more often than not try to prove we are right.. even if we are, let us look inwards on where we've contributed to the relationship going sour. Truth always stands so we don't have to prove to anyone that we are right.

    2. Just be calmly patient, don't argue, allow it to go.. truth will finally come around n don't you say... You see, I told you!! They've already seen it.

  4. The process, I think it is difficult, we are always wrong, we can't think or reason the same

  5. Sweet Home Alabama
    - Lynyard Skynyard

  6. I have been looking at reconciliation. It hurt to see believers go back into a life of sin then come back to church as though they did no wrong. As an elder how can I deal with this type of behavior?

    1. Prayerfully. Ask God to change your heart towards the person that has returned. Seek wisdom and utilize discernment so you say and do what is necessary. But don't judge and condemn. Extend love.


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