Gandhi Journal Article-III ( August 2016 )
Forgiveness and Conflict Resolution
By John Moolakkattu
Conflict resolution deals with how people resolve their disagreements, often emanating from mutually incompatible goals. Such disagreements entail not only fights, but also negative emotions that persist. The resolution of conflicts through various rational strategies such as negotiations, mediation and facilitation might yield positive outcomes. But conflict resolution focused on the issues that give rise to conflict cannot often address the rupture in human relations that takes place. Failure to deal with this rupture might increase the likelihood of future conflict. Hence forgiveness can play a role in conflict resolution when the parties accept that the conflict is a relational phenomenon and is the result of failed interaction, that both sides have a role in reconstructing the relationships, and in so doing, reconstructing their identities, which results in the restoration of humanity of both. At an interpersonal level forgiveness is seen as a very useful virtue and it has led to the resolution of conflicts between those in intimate relationships such as married couples. But many would have reservations when this idea is applied to address group conflict.