I am not talking here about a minor argument but when there has been a serious breakdown in relationships and a sense from all parties that they have been wronged. If you have ever been asked to mediate such a situation then you will know how hopeless and painful, they often are. Usually, there is a lot of yelling, a lot of crying and no real movement towards reconciliation.
So, if I am asked to mediate, for example in a marital break down, after the initial yelling, I ask the parties not to do one thing and instead to do something else. I ask them not to psycho analyse the other person and so make a judgement on them. Instead, I ask them to take a few days and reflect, then come back and share the ways in which they believe that they have failed and wronged the other party.
If this happens then we can move forward to check with all involved that there is a full level of self-awareness and there can be a start at repentance and forgiveness. If there isn’t a willingness to self-examine and to fess up to my own faults, then I don’t think that there is much point seeking mediation, the skills needed in getting to the truth are better associated with a private investigator! It is also vital that both/all parties are willing to participate on this basis otherwise truth and confession become weapons of control by those who choose to withhold their own confession whilst holding that of others against them.
What I am describing here is one application of Jesus’ words that before we seek to take the speck out of a brother’s eye we must first of all remove the log from our own. The point is that the log in my eye is often not a general/generic issue but relates to the specific conflict. It takes two to tango as they say and if there has been a falling out then I do need to stop and consider my responsibility in the situation.
This enables us once again to be motivated by generous love, grace and mercy towards one another.