Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lent: Conflict Resolution

In today's world, the opinions expressed by Br. John in the video are not uncommon.  Conflict, differences of opinion, holding viewpoints that contrast with our own - these are reasons to end relationships, not learn from them.

When I was growing up, my father, the social historian, taught us both history and rhetoric as dinner table conversation.  He would bring up a particular conflict in history, and we would have to be able to argue either side of that conflict from the point of view assigned to us.  This required that we get to know the why people had various opinions and positions.  And in learning this, we learned that in arguments there are always at least two sides to things, often more.  So for me, every argument was an excellent opportunity to learn about people, and particularly about the person I was arguing with.  It was fun.  And both sides gained from the experience.  Unfortunately, most people tend to view conflicts as what I call a fight.  And I will avoid fights as much as possible, because they're never fun, and generally, both sides lose, not just the particular conflict, but respect for one another, and feelings get hurt.

So let's put this back into the religious forum, into the creation of your Rule of Life.  There are certainly some instances where a fight is definitely an instance where something is wrong and needs to be corrected.  A friend posted the meme here at the side, and we can see that Christ, one of the most peace-loving, willing to explain and teach and talk about anything kind of people, was willing to fight to right a wrong.

But also think about His normal mode of being.  He didn't exactly hang out with people who likely shared His points of view.  But he didn't get into conflicts with them either.  He talked, He taught, He listened and learned what was important to them, and where they were coming from, so that He knew how to teach them what they needed to know.

Looking at the chart you've been working on regarding relationships and where they need to be strengthened and nurtured, go ahead and ask yourself the question, WWJD, and see if you can emulate our greatest teacher in the process.

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