This is a significant week in world history. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets U.S. President Donald Trump for historic talks. Both leaders arrived for the meetings—the first ever between a sitting U.S.president and a North Korean leader—in Singapore on Sunday, June 10. This meeting marks a dramatic shift in relationships after decades of animosity from North Korea toward the United States.
North Korean state media have raised the possibility that the isolated country could "establish a new relationship" with the United States. President Trump said he has a "good feeling" about Tuesday's much-anticipated summit, and he tweeted on Monday morning that there was "excitement in the air" ahead of the summit. He hopes the meeting will kickstart a process that eventually sees Mr. Kim give up nuclear weapons. But North Korea's perspective has always been more unclear.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that the U.S. objective was complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but they would make certain that this would not end badly for North Korea. Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who met Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim separately on Sunday evening, told reporters that both leaders were feeling "supremely confident" ahead of their meeting.
I have few political comments to make about anything, and this is actually NOT a political post. I am fascinated with the phrase “begin a process” and the attitude it hopefully embodies. It’s far bigger than a political process. The U.S.realizes these meetings may not solve everything, we may not have a rock-solid resolution at the end of these talks, but the hope is that we will reconcile to the point that a relationship is possible. The United States is looking for enough progress to continue moving forward, realizing that nailing everything down in the fashion we desire may be improbable the first time around, given our decades of division. It’s a process.
We do well to adopt that perspective in our relationships. Reconciliation is a process. When we want a relationship restored that has been broken for a long time, the idea that we have to agree in every area to begin reconciliation assures that reconciliation is highly unlikely. We can reconcile without the resolution of every disagreement. We can engage in an ongoing process of respect and communication, even with people who have been completely unreasonable. Sometimes we end up with an entirely new relationship over time.
The process of reconciliation should always begin with hope and optimism and clear goals. It should continue with patience, respect, perseverance, and gratitude for the steps taken. Honesty and transparency are essential because no relationship is possible without them.
That’s my hope and prayer for the U.S./North Korea talks. I pray that the leaders come to the table with a commitment to the best for our world, and I pray that they commit to an ongoing process of reconciliation, with plenty of resolution along the way. It will bless our world in untold ways if they do.
But the real focus of my prayers today is you and your family, friends, co-workers, and associates. Chances are, most of us have a relationship that is somewhat estranged; not as it should be. Perhaps it is time for another historic meeting. Maybe you should initiate a reconciliation and peace process with someone who has been away, broken, and perhaps even hostile. Don’t think you have to resolve every issue to have a relational start at reconciliation. It’s a process. It may eventually lead to a relationship that is better than you dreamed, and it will bless your personal world.