Conflict, conflict everywhere…
Is it just me, or does it seem like there is conflict everywhere? Conflict in homes. Conflict in society. Conflict in our churches. And let’s not forget, conflict in our government. It seems like you can not escape conflict.
Why? Why are we continually in conflict with others and things? For awhile now I have repeatedly said that I am tired of everything seeming like a battle. From getting the kids to do their chores to what does the Bible really say. Yes, sadly, even scriptural disagreements seem like a constant battle these days. “There is no spiritual warfare. It is deliverance. We already have the victory in Christ.” “You can’t have deliverance without spiritual warfare.” “Well, if you say this then it’s not really a lie.” “Manipulation or twisting of words is a form of lying and witchcraft.” Yes, I have heard ALL of these in the past and recently. Honestly, I am over it! Sometimes I wonder if God sits back, smacks his hand to his forehead (facepalms, as my teenagers call it) and wonders how we made everything so complicated.
I read an article in the paper this morning, and wishing I had not read it, began to wonder why it rubbed me wrong. It was an opinion article. On a topic I just happen to have been spending the last couple of years learning a lot about. The article. It was a grossly, uneducated opinion. It made me sad. Sad that the individual who wrote it did not do their job as a reporter to learn more about the topic before using their position to imply what others should do. It made me mad for the same reason because ‘opinion’ articles tend to have a profound affect on others. This made me wonder…how many conflicts could be solved if we stopped assuming, stopped accusing, stopped condeming, stopped judging and actually took the time to seek first to understand.
Seek first to understand. There is a novel concept. To do this, we have to put ‘self’ aside first. To do this, we have to put another individual(s) in top place. But how do we seek first to understand? Ask questions. This principle applies to every type of conflict or opinion. Ask questions. For example: let’s just say that someone is working on cars in their backyard. You don’t like how it looks. It’s not asthetically pleasing. So you get mad. You call the police, or city and complain.
What you don’t know, is that the individual, whom you do not know, has lost their job, has exhausted unemployment and has received no calls for interviews for the 100’s of applications they have submitted to companies not just all over the state, but the nation. Their “qualifications” just miss, or are too many. What you also do not know is that this same individual, prior to losing their job was deathly ill and in the hospital for several weeks. The family exhausted their savings and now they are on the brink of losing their home. A year prior this same family gave birth to a set of twins…prematurely. This family is desperately trying to get their heads above water, save their home, keep food on the table, and keep their family clothed and warm. They have a knack for repairing cars. They usually only take in one or two cars at a time because they do not want their yard to be unsightly, but some parts were backordered and won’t be in for a few weeks.
Okay, I can go on dragging out this story about this family, but what I want to go to is the result of not seeking first to understand. The police are sent out to talk to this family. The are told they have one week to get the cars out of the backyard and clean it up. They are also told that they can no longer work on cars in their driveway or garage…it’s offensive to the neighbor down the road. Six months later, the family is moving out, to where they do not know. They have sold as many of their possessions as they could. The house sits. Empty. The lawn grows out of control. The weeds are as tall as the garage. Some rebellious teenagers were out late one night and threw rocks through a couple of the windows.
Does it look better now?
How could this have turned out differently, if you would have taken the time to seek first to understand?
How could the reporters story impacted the community differently if they had taken the time to seek first to become educated on the topic?
I can’t help but think of what Jesus said when the Pharisees and Sadducces had brought forth the woman caught in adultery. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Are you sin-less? Am I? The answer is ‘NO’! If that is the case, which it is, then why, why are we so caught up in worrying about what everyone else is doing, why they are doing it, when we are not willing to take the time to get educated, to understand.
Now, I know this is not going to resonate well with some people and that is okay. Like I said, seek first to understand. Ask questions. This is my conclusion based upon past and current experiences, talking with others who I have a tremendous amount of respect for (ex: they will tell me when I am wrong or off my rocker), and asking questions. You may or may not come to the same conclusion when you have asked questions too…and that is okay.
This may not always be the conclusion. There are people out there, who will sadly, manipulated, use, and push every resource and line they can find to get their way. I feel sorry for them.
I would love your thoughts on this…