Conciliation vs Counseling

What is Christian Conciliation?

Christian Conciliation is a form of Biblical Peacemaking, which helps individuals resolve conflicts in a cooperative rather than an adversarial manner. The conciliation process is based on biblical principles that promote understanding, personal responsibility, justice, and reconciliation.

This is done through three basic means: Conflict Coaching which focuses on helping individuals explore ways to resolve disputes personally and privately; Mediation, an informal process in which one or more mediators meet with all of the people involved in the conflict to help them arrive at a voluntary settlement of their differences; and Arbitration, a more formal process in which one or more arbitrators hear each side’s arguments and render a legally binding decision.

In each of these means, the conciliator is acting as a facilitator, encouraging people to respond to their conflicts according to God’s Word. The conciliator is not acting as an advocate or an adviser, nor is he acting as an attorney for any of the individuals.

How is Peacemaking different from Counseling?

Peacemaking is NOT counseling people to deal with emotional, mental, or even physical issues which may require more in-depth help. These will best be addressed by an appropriate professional.

Peacemaking IS counseling people to deal with damaged relationships in such a way that these may be fully restored. Conciliators help people see a specific relational problem from God’s perspective and provide guidance in applying Biblical principles to that area of their life.

How can Peacemaking and Counseling complement each other?

At times a conciliator will notice that there are other, underlying issues that are significantly contributing to the “presenting issue” of conflict. While a conciliator may point these out and speak into a person’s life, the main focus will always be to address the actual reason for a conflict for which the parties have sought help and aim at reconciliation.

In this way, peacemaking is different from counseling and they rather complement each other. For example, if someone is in counseling for stress and a particular conflict is identified as a major source of that stress, then a conciliator can be helpful in working with the person toward reconciliation. Alternatively, if a married couple comes to a conciliator for help with a conflict over their finances, and it is discovered that one person has a history of withholding information from their spouse, the conciliator might then encourage them to seek counseling for long-term growth and rebuilding of their trust.

Hope for Broken Relationships