Reconciliation is not about keeping peace but making peace. And in order to make peace, one has to be willing to put themselves in situations that are uncomfortable, messy and seemingly chaotic. These situations will cause you to confront the very reasons why peace is not present, something that is usually tied to the absence of justice. And when that happens, you have a choice:
1. Deny it. Deny that peace is absent. ‘Everything is fine.’ Or explain any chaos and tension on some sort of Darwin-esque fatalism. ‘That’s just who those people are. What do you expect?’
2. Suppress it. Smooth out the ruffled feathers. Make everyone get along to go along and emphasize niceties over transformation and heart change. Squelch every statement that could be interpreted poorly. ‘Why can’t we all just get along?’
3. Lean into it. Embrace the tension. Ride the waves of chaos and hurt. Ask the tough questions. Tell the truth,with humility and integrity. Name the hurt and pain. And listen when others do with us the same. By leaning in, we put ourselves in situations where the Spirit of God can truly work, uninhibited by the constrains of people who insist on artificial harmony because they are spineless cowards.
This is when the work of true reconciliation can begin. If tension and truth-telling are not present, neither is genuine reconciliation.