The Cost of Reconciliation: Adding Insult to Injury


It is time to get back into the swing of writing again. Regular readers will note I have take a vacation from blogging. During my time off I have enjoyed reading about Powell’s trip down the Colorado River, a couple of books about the DRC, and a counseling book which I plan to review this fall.

But, before I start my own writing, I want to draw your attention to this short post on reconciliation. I have just one added note to this post. The choice of becoming vulnerable must always be made by the victim. Any forced reconciliation continues the abuse and is false through and through.

The Cost of Reconciliation: Adding Insult to Injury.

What do you think?

5 Comments

Filed under Abuse, christian counseling, christian psychology, Psychology

5 responses to “The Cost of Reconciliation: Adding Insult to Injury

  1. D.S.

    It sounds like she is proposing “reconciliation” with an offender who does not admit his/her wrong and has no intention of changing. Am I reading this right?

    • Well, what I think the author is proposing is that the victim prepare for reconciliation, to wade into the fray towards it rather than wait for the perpetrator to recognize their problems. I think it might be a better read to say the the offender still does not get the problem or the need to change. It would seem that reconciliation here in this post does not mean act as nothing is wrong or pretend that all is better.

      • D.S.

        It seems to me that the concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation are ill-defined and varying. How can we discuss them when we aren’t talking about the same thing?
        That said,
        I think reconciliation means that relationship is restored to pre-offense or better level. It means that the offended is willing to have some amount of trust in the other person. To me, reconciliation cannot occur until the offender recognizes and repents of their offense and the offended has forgiven.

        If reconciliation means restoring the relationship, I don’t think reconciliation is always right or good. How can the child abused by the parent reconcile with that parent if it means restoring that abusive relationship? How could it be otherwise if the perpetrator hasn’t repented? Is this author telling the victim to be vulnerable anyway? Go ahead and put yourself back in the position of being hurt or abused? “wade into the fray?” Sorry, that just seems stupid.

        What if it is a woman who “had an affair” with her pastor? Restore the relationship? Uh, I don’t think so.

        So, it sounds like this author is saying reconciliation is possible and the right thing to do even without the offender changing. If I was the victim and even if the counselor didn’t pressure me as to when I should ‘wade into the fray’, I would feel guilty. The “should” just being there weighs on the victim who wants to do the right thing.

        I wonder what Dr. Maier would say? If I understand him correctly, he doesn’t think forgiveness is possible unless the offender repents. Although, even after taking a workshop with him on ‘forgiveness’ I still don’t grasp his take on it.

        However, is it a different ball of wax when we are talking about reconciling with someone who hacked our family to death? Somehow it seems that it has to be. Yet, why wouldn’t it be the same for everyone, whether the offense is large like genocide, or smaller, like what most of us experience?

        I suppose, in a way, I have just come full circle on the question and no closer to an answer.

  2. You said, “I think reconciliation means that relationship is restored to pre-offense or better level. It means that the offended is willing to have some amount of trust in the other person.”

    You are right in your previous point that the concept of reconciliation is not well defined. I would think that reconciliation does NOT always mean restored to pre-offense or better. I would think there would be levels. I do think the author here is trying to say that I cannot wait passively until the other party gets it and fesses up. I can take action. This would be like Dr. Maier’s point that you have to be ready to forgive even if the offender isn’t asking for it. You can encourage restoration but of course full restoration cannot happen without the other party’s response. I didn’t see anything that would suggest naive reconciliation in the posting. But, maybe I’m missing something.

  3. ebonyjohanna

    Thanks so much for referencing my post. I really appreciate that! To add to the conversation all ready on your blog, it is true that reconciliation is not entirely possible unless both parties, that of the offender and that of the victim, are willing to be forgiven and to forgive. But in many cases, the process of reconciliation starts with the victim, and the victims willingness to forgive and put their identity in the offense aside for the sake of the relationship. It is a hard notion to grasp, especially when you consider the gravity of offenses that take place in the world. How can those who have been hurt so much willingly humble themselves and forgive those who have wronged them? This is even further compounded when the perpetrator, even in the face of forgiveness, shows no sign of repentance or willingness to restore the relationship. But then I think of Jesus who modeled this perfectly. I John 4 says that He loved us and died for us while we were still caught dead in our sins and wanted nothing to do with him. So if Christ can do this, and if the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us, then by God, we can extend forgiveness to the worst offender in our lives. Will it be easy? No. But is it possible? Yes!

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