Allen and Margaret Belton

Senior Partner at Breakthrough Partners

“Loved people love people. Hurt people hurt people.”

 



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Allen and Margaret Belton are catalysts for reconciliation whose lives model the heart of the Gospel, peace and unity found in a Person, Jesus Christ. For more than 30 years, God has been using them to help people build relationships and experience reconciliation in local churches and other challenging arenas such as unemployment, mental health, prisons, parenting, youth, and substance abuse.

How would you define reconciliation?

Reconciliation is simply peace making. It is restoring right relationships. It’s a process of coming together and uniting, putting aside any bitterness or conflict and becoming one again. It’s a process of fixing something that’s broken. It’s a bridge that covers a ravine of separation. A bridge doesn’t just have one piece but many parts that come together to create a new way of life. God intended us to have peace in every facet of our lives: our home, our workplace, and yes, even, our churches!

Given the heightened state of racial tension in America, how do you approach racial reconciliation?

I believe that race is just a social construct which often serves to make division. We all are human beings. We can exchange many vital organs, blood, and plasma. Understanding and focusing on our common humanity, as opposed to differing levels of melanin, is critical as a foundation for reconciliation. The Gospel radically addresses this. Jesus, through His life and death, demonstrates and restores us into His oneness.

How would you balance the importance of diversity with the need for unity?

Unity is not uniformity. The picture of unity in the New Testament is orchestrated by the Holy Spirit who unites us together in the body of Christ. People who are as diverse as Jew and Greek or male and female are called to be one body. Because of this, we can celebrate our differences in every aspect of life, yet all the more, we can celebrate the unity that we can have amidst this.

What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with bitterness and forgiveness?

First off, if someone is bitter, it’s like you’re eating poison, and expecting the other person to die. It destroys the person who is carrying the bitterness far more than the object of bitterness. Scripture is very emphatic on this issue. God will forgive us as we forgive others. There’s benefits to forgiveness. In fact, the only place in scripture where God asks us to stop praying is when we’re not at peace with our brothers and sisters (Matthew 5:23-24). God asks us to actually leave the altar and first go and make peace. Undoing doing the hurt is never easy, but we need to remember the benefits far outweigh the pain and the struggle. 

What should an everyday person working a traditional for-profit job take away from your life and story?

Reconciliation matters. If you’re not reconciled, it will keep you from receiving the abundance and fullness of life that Jesus has promised you. This absolutely matters whether you’re a pastor, a student, a CEO, or a homemaker.


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