I identify myself as a Christian Conciliator. When I do that, people ask, “Why Christian? Aren’t all conciliators the same?”
Conciliation and mediation work is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution which is a professional discipline. What makes ADR different than a court case is the voluntary participation by the parties in finding an acceptable resolution to the issues. The truism is that no one ever wins a court battle. That is why mediation work has become a preferred way of resolving matters.
But Christian conciliation adds a dimension to ADR. It brings a unique perspective to the work of helping people reconcile. I have observed this many times. When we bring a uniquely Christian message, God works to bring true reconciliation.
What makes Christian Conciliation Christian?
Christian does not mean a set of rules
By Christian I do not mean an ethic. Most people think that Christian means biblical laws. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethic. That ethic is summarized in the 10 commandments.
Christian in this case means a set of rules to live by. This must mean that Christian Conciliation means applying those rules to conflicts.
Yes, God’s law is applied to conflict. And God’s law is very important to conciliation. But what makes something uniquely Christian is not the rules.
Christian does not mean “love”
Sometimes people summarize Christianity as a message about loving each other. Of all the terrible summaries of Christianity, this is one of the worst. People who say this have not read the four lives of Jesus (called the Gospels). Jesus did speak of love, but he said none of us measures up. He also spoke of judgment, accountability, righteousness, and humility.
Christian means we have a deep problem
Unlike every other religious or moral philosophy in the world, Christianity does not engage in moral cheer-leading. Moral cheer-leading is sayings things to encourage people to be better. It assumes that people can improve themselves if they know better and try harder. That is exactly the opposite of what makes the Christian Gospel unique.
Jesus faced people who thought they were good. The fiercest enemies of people were the good people. That is because he told them they were not good. No, he told them they were no better than the bad people. He stripped off their façade.
Jesus said that the root of all our moral and relational problems was inside of us, in our hearts. No one else is to blame. And no one can make themselves better.
When we have conflicts that break or strain relationship, we imagine we are good and the other person is bad. Jesus blows that up.That is one of the ways Christian conciliation is unique. We help people et to the root problem.
Christian mean God saves and God alone
But Christianity is good news, right? How can it be good news to tell people they have such deep problems?
We are under the powers of evil to such a degree that we cannot deliver ourselves. Our debt to God for our sin is too great to ever pay. But God has acted, in mercy, to do what we cannot do. he has done what we do not deserve. Through Jesus death for our sin he pays what we cannot pay. He does this by giving himself for us, in our place, through the death of Christ. His death is what we deserve.because he has fully paid for our wrongs, God offers full and free forgiveness. A Christian is someone who knows that they are more evil than they ever imagined, and at the same time more loved and accepted by God than they ever hoped for because of Christ.
More than that, Jesus resurrection breaks us free from a power we could not escape. God is changing them from the inside out.
This gives hope and freedom
The Christians Gospel addresses the deep problem of all conflict. That problem is sin. It is not poor communication skills or poor self image or bad parenting.
It would be terribly cruel to show people how sick they are if we did not tell them of the cure. But there is a cure that is infinitely sufficient. They can see the worst about themselves without despair. God already knew it and factored it into Jesus death for them.
When people grasp this they find a willingness to admit wrong. They experience a tender heart ready to forgive.
Christian conciliation leads to true reconciliation
One of the failings of ADR is its failure to address the deepest levels of life. People in conflict do not just have disagreements. They have wronged each other. They are angry with each other. When the Gospel is explained and brought to bear in their conflict, there is a powerful work of God that brings confession, forgiveness, and the groundwork for true love.
Contact me for more information
That is a lot to think about. You can reach me if you want to discuss it. The contact for is at the bottom of the page.
Next Page: The Good of Conflict