二○二○年七月十日／十一日／十二日 Click here for English version
Reflections on Seminar on
"Justice and Reconciliation – Relations in Church and Family in Times of Turmoil"
Rev Hung Kwai Fong
The other day, I came across a brother who had left the church because of the recent social events. As he shared, his tears almost fell and I could feel he was deeply hurt. I see antagonism in the church and in the family. I could not help but ask, "Why would relations become so strained?" Dr Harry Hui's analysis and explanations in his talk "Justice and Reconciliation" enables me to understand more about the journey of the heart of those who are hurt and gives me a more realistic expectation of the likelihood of reconciliation. The talk affords my learning and reflection in three aspects:
(1) Reconciliation is a mutual effort
Dr Hui pointed out that reconciliation is hard to attain by the efforts of one party concerned only. It becomes impossible if both parties give up. It takes patience and time to reconcile. It involves the concerned parties' continual self-reflection and exercise of spiritual discipline. My hope and prayer is that both sides who feel hurt will be willing to take the first step, which will greatly enhance the chances of reconciliation.
(2) Admit our weaknesses in humility
1. "What I saw was not the entire picture": Antagonism arises because everybody considers what he sees as the fact. Thus, when we share with others the injustices we see but are not acknowledged and are even debated, resulting in exchange of words that hurt each other, we would then feel wronged. Nevertheless, we must admit that only God knows everything. We must also accept each other's inadequacies and limitations.
2. "My feeling of injustice is subject to inaccurate perception": I was much impressed by three experiments cited in the talk. They show that we are inclined to consider that those who hurt us should shoulder greater responsibility. Nevertheless, human memory is often inaccurate. Those who are hurt will better remember the details of their pain but less the merits of the other party. We must admit that we are often biased in this connection and should not rely solely on our feelings.
(3) Choose to forgive
Dr Hui cited a quotation saying that even though we may have been treated unfairly, we should give up grievance. This reminds me of the Lord Jesus who was subject to the most unfair treatment but He still chose forgiveness. Forgiveness is the Lord's example and will: "Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13). We have all experienced the relief in being forgiven by the Lord and we also long for the relief in being able to forgive others. With the grace and strength from God, we can surely lay aside the need to redress the injustices.
Only God is absolutely just. Righteous judgment is also His. Pride and self-righteousness often hurt our relationships and make reconciliation difficult. May the Lord help us to learn His gentleness and humility. May we learn how to understand and accommodate divergent views. May the Lord help us, together, to practice Paul's teaching: "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18).