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Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Having New Years Day on Sunday was nice in a few respects. Starting a new week, month, and year on the same day is quite rare. I think the statistic is one of 13 years starts out that way. I enjoyed it because in church we sang "Let There be Peace on Earth" It's a beautiful song, as well as a wonderful idea.
As I ponder that idea, I have to wonder if anyone really knows what they are singing about. Peace on Earth is a goal worthy to aim towards, but is it realistic. It is so easy to give into conflict, rather than seek the peaceful gentle answer that Proverbs tells us turns wrath away. This is true on a worldwide scale, but just as true on a personal level as well.
The personal level kicks in when we sing the second line "let it begin with me". How many of us relish the thought of saying "I'm sorry" when we hurt our neighbor or "I forgive" before someone who hurts us offers an apology. It's hard to be the first one to reach out in peace. Hard because the other person may not be receptive to such overtures.
Some people thrive on conflict. They like to stay mad long after they've forgotten. The infamous Hatfield-McCoy Feud in Kentucky was started over a pig that crossed into the neighbors property. That feud continued for nearly 50 years until finally both families got tired of the fight. It may sound like fun, but keeping up that much anger rage and hatred is unhealthy.
So where does the gentle answer come from. When I feel conflicted I reach up to God in prayer, and then I try to reach out to the second party. If that doesn't work, I wait for a better time. The Obama approach to conflict resolution, having both parties talk it out over a beer, doesn't appeal to me, but I have seen it work. He even got a Nobel Prize for peace, so I can't argue with the results.
The best thing to do is to put distance between the other party in a conflict until they are ready to resolve differences. This may never happen, but pray for them until it does. Some talk of "killing them with kindness". That is actually a biblical principle. Paul tells us that if we go out of our way to be nice to those who have wronged us, it will be like heaping hot coals on their head. Some may think that heaping the hot coals on directly will solve things, but they never really do. In an episode of "Kung Fu", Master Po told Grasshopper "Anger is a weapon only to one's opponent". There is mush wisdom in that statement.
There comes a time in every-one's life when people rage and thunder at us, we have a choice to rage and thunder right back or turn the other cheek. I've operated both ways, and in the long run not joining in the conflict, no matter who "started it" has never solved it, at least not for me.
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