How do we seek reconciliation when we see injustice and inequality around us?
It is about changing how we think about and relate to one another.
“I want to hear your needs and I want to see myself in your story. I want you to see yourself in my story.”
The first step on the road to reconciliation is realization, the second is identification. Identifying ourselves with other people is fundamental to reconciliation and community transformation.
“Reconciliation is not just having the right people in the room, so you’ve got the right diverse group of people all together in the right room.”
“Identification says, we’re not just a collection of individuals who come from different racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds, we’re not just trying to get people on the bus together; we want them to relate to each other, to identify with each other, we want to care about each other.”
We need to keep in mind that reconciliation is a process and avoid our tendency to offer a ‘quick fix.’ We can learn from Daniel’s experience,
“There’s a young pastor in Chicago, his name is Daniel and he’s white. He said that one of the hardest jobs as a pastor, that has planted a church in Chicago with the intention of being a multi-racial church committed to reconciliation, is holding back his young – often times white, socially active, injustice-minded young people in this church who want to get in and ‘fix’ the inner city, who want to get in and do something to make it right.”
“What we have to do is win our right to speak our truth and we’ve got to demonstrate that we’re not coming to have the ‘fix-it’ solutions, but come to partner, we’ve come to learn, and we’ve come to let the community tell us what the real issues are. We’ve come to demonstrate our faithfulness and our humility; which is one of the characteristics of a reconciler. It’s not an arrogant, ‘we’ve got the answers and we’ll tell you what you need.’”
“Daniel has said to me, ‘we have to learn how to prepare ourselves to really be in this work for the long haul and not just to see ourselves as the people who come in with all the answers.’”
God is already at work to bring reconciliation and transformation in our communities, we just need to walk alongside Him.