“The transformative power of the vision to create One Family under God is found in the fundamental truth that all people, regardless of their differences are spiritual beings who share a common heritage in the one Creator.” —Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon
The following story is by a Japanese American writer on learning about reconciliation in daily life and its practical application to building peace through the understanding and empathy learned in the family and applied in the greater community and society.
“That’s alright, we’re learning,” my Korean sister-in-law chuckled patting my arm.
It’s one of the most comforting phrases I’ve heard many times over the years we’ve gotten to know each other.
Over tea, we would exchange stories and ask questions—and advice—about everything: our relationships, work, our goals, and so much more. It took a few years to get into the deeper topics, but these days there really isn’t a single topic I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to her about. Inevitably, I would stumble across a question or subject that would clearly display my ignorance about Korean culture or even parts of her identity that had nothing to do with race.
Recently she recalled to me when my brother first brought her home to meet the siblings. She laughed talking about the get-to-know-you party game we played in which we said her favorite things must be shopping at malls because she’s a “city girl.”
It made me think about how often we label the people around us and the effect it has on distancing us from really understanding who we are.
My sister-in-law’s laughter and soft smiles in these kinds of interactions are so valuable because it is a demonstration of something we all need to build deeper relationships, understanding, and reconciliation: Grace.
I’m the child of an interracial marriage myself, part Caucasian and part Japanese, so you could say that being a part of the intercultural exchange was always a part of my daily life. As I grew older, that blessing would only expand with additions to the family over the years. People like my sisters-in-law were incredible allies in helping me learn how to dialogue and learn more about people who were very different from me because I was allowed to learn in an environment of grace. In a family, when each person knows that no matter what is said, no one will stay mad and arms will always be open at the end of the day, it is safe to have those deep discussions.
Creating this family culture is the first step in establishing reconciliation between any diverse groups of people. Once we have that common identity—that we are family, truly—we are gifted with the ability to give grace and receive it in the process of learning cultures, backgrounds, and the all-around diversity that the people around us, people we care about, are a part of.
Reconciliation on a community, national, and global scale takes place in the same way. Start with the fundamentals: establishing that we really are one human family. From there, with grace, we can start the process of building lasting peace.