The word reconciliation comes to mind often these days. The dictionary definition is- “the restoration of friendly relations”.
An amazing example of a reconciliation process was the way we managed to bound in friendship with our former enemies, Japan and Germany, after WWII. That exercise was a marked contrast to how WWI ended and sowed the seeds for the next great global conflict.
One of the things that seems obvious in any process for bringing former opponents into a new, benevolent, mutually beneficial relationship is the need for dialogue- a verbal sharing of issues and concerns conducted in an atmosphere of honesty, openness, and respect. In other words reconciliation cannot be dictated by one side; it has to be a joint effort.
It is noteworthy that the Bible speaks of reconciliation between God and mankind. Twenty times in the KJV the words, reconcile, reconciled, or reconciliation appear, most often in the context of a sacrificial system designed to restore a brokenness in man’s relationship with God.
So the story of the Bible is often cast as the telling of how God and man returned to a former state of amity. Or could be restored, if one follows the tenets of Christian Orthodoxy. As generally understood this work of reconciliation is minimal in its scope because it supposedly leaves most people still unrestored and will so forever.
This one sided tale of reconciliation indicates that amity can be restored by the dictates of only one of the parties involved. God supposedly has said this is the only way mankind and I will be reconciled; take it or leave it!
In any practical sense, a one sided reconciliation could only happen if one party was never in need of reconciliation in the first place. If only one party ever felt alienated to begin with. Otherwise, any reconciliation will necessitate a dialogue, an exchange of viewpoints, complaints, and possible resolutions. The church’s theological construct of a restored good will by demanded compliance under threat of eternal punishment is not reconciliation at all. It is instead subjugation and then retribution, neither of which could possible result in a meaningful and amiable relationship.