The Key Ingredient for Reconciliation

Diana Murdock recently did a post on her journey to forgiveness that sparked a lot of discussion and has had me mulling over the issue the past couple weeks.  Everyone who has ever been wronged and sought how to forgive has come to it in different ways.  Everyone’s journey is personal and unique.

I have realized, however, that in our discussions and perceptions of forgiveness and reconciliation, one key ingredient has been missing.

But first, forgiveness does not mean reconciliation.  Forgiveness is something you do, in your own mind and heart, a one-way street.  Reconciliation is a two-way street.  But here’s the really important piece you need–the one who committed the wrong must be repentant.  There can be no rebuilding of the relationship without it.

True repentance comes from acknowledging that you did something wrong and actively making changes so you don’t do it again.  It is not an apology.  “I’m sorry” does not begin to cover the multitude of hurts and wrongs people can inflict upon each other.  Even more superficial is saying you’re sorry because you got caught, not because you know what you did was wrong.  And what good is an apology if the behavior continues?

Forgiveness is the sole responsibility of the wronged, but repentance is all on the person who did the wrong.  Reconciliation is a two-way street with both parties looking deep within themselves and having a change of heart.  We have our perceptions backwards.  We forgive for the sake of the wrongdoer; we repent or apologize for the sake of the wronged, when really these actions are internal and only benefit us.

Forgiveness releases the hate and the desire for personal vengeance.  This doesn’t make life easier for the person we forgive; it heals us.  It lets go of the stress and the angst twisting in our gut.  Forgiveness doesn’t fix the relationship; it heals our hearts.

Repentance accepts responsibility.  It mans-up and refuses to hide behind excuses.  This doesn’t ease the pain of the one who was wronged; it frees us from this bondage to lies and pain.  When we repent, we can start again, working to be better.  It also doesn’t repair the relationship, but it heals our lives.

Only when the above occurs on both sides can reconciliation happen.  We do not resume the relationship as though nothing has happened.  We do not “forgive and forget.”  But, starting anew on both ends, we can rebuild.  It’s a slow process, but when both parties are actively engaged, when the transformations are taking place in their hearts, the relationship can be mended.

What about you?  What have you thought forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation meant?  If you’re willing, share your story.  I love hearing from you!

Love Yourself, Not Your Flaws

Hey guys, it’s Move Me Monday and I’m thinking about self-esteem.

Who’s seen TLC’s What Not to Wear?  I love this show.  People nominate their fashion-challenged friends to get a makeover and new wardrobe from two of the fashion industry’s leading experts, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly.

The show starts off with what can be interpreted as belittling and teasing as Stacy and Clinton make the contestants step into a 360 degree mirror so all the flaws of their current wardrobe can be pointed out.  The intent is not to beat someone’s self-esteem down, however, but to point out why a certain type of clothing does not flatter their body type.  The contestants are then shown alternatives that will work well for them (and most of their current wardrobe is dumped in a garbage bin).

Stacy and Clinton are not about promoting zero size, Barbie figures.  They are about positive self-body image regardless of how many curves one may have.  It’s all about loving yourself and dressing in a way that proclaims to the world, “I do love myself for who I am–all of me.”

My favorite episodes show women with horrible self-esteem issues undergoing a transformation that leaves them learning to love themselves for who they are and how they look.  Often they’re worried about drawing attention and their jeans and t-shirts are an effort to be invisible.  But, as Stacy and Clinton point out, no one else is judging your flaws; they’re too busy worrying about their own!

So, is it vanity to dress in a way that flatters yourself?  I don’t think so.  It all comes down to your motivation.  How do you present yourself to the world?  Why?  Are you compensating?  Hiding?  Do you just enjoy life?

Do you love yourself?  How do you show it?  Do you dress in a way that says, “I feel good”?  Are you too busy taking care of other people that you neglect yourself?  I love hearing from you!

You can also find me on Mistress Suzie’s blog today for another flash fiction episode of The Adventures of Teagan.