Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
Conflict stinks. It’s unpleasant, uncomfortable, and far too easy to do poorly. Conflict is a delicate game balancing a desire to achieve a certain outcome without causing unnecessary escalation.
We live in a world where evil is alive and well. No one wants evil to exist, but it does because of sin. Both good and bad people sometimes do evil things. Those people should be held accountable and justice meted. Our country has had a consistent pattern of civil unrest after an injustice. We no longer know how to have healthy conflict.
- Do you want to perpetuate hate? Use the actions of an evil person as an excuse to harm others, burn businesses, and contribute to civil unrest.
- Do you want to stifle positive change? Share polarizing rhetoric. It will flawlessly push either side more firmly into their ways.
- Do you want to keep a rift between entire groups of people? Play the blame game instead of holding those responsible accountable. And, when those responsible have been held accountable, continue to accuse others of complicity.
Every single person on the planet is guilty. Every single person on the planet is hopeless without God. Every person on the planet would die lost if not for Jesus and the forgiveness He offers. Not one person is perfect.
- Do we want peace? Be good to all people (Galatians 6.10).
- Do we want to eradicate prejudice? Unite within the family of God (Galatians 3.28). God created people, not factions.
- Do we want to eliminate hatred? Be patient, kind, humble, not jealous, not self-centered, not easily provoked, not a grudge-holder, not someone who relishes in dysfunction, love truth, not retaliatory, and be full of hope (I Corinthians 13).
We must face the fact that the only way to have true stability, love, acceptance, and goodness is to go through God. Only when we look to an objective standard – one that cannot change simply because man’s threshold of tolerance has – will we have peace.
“Happy are the peacemakers, because they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5.9).