Do the ends justify the means? Are outcomes so important that I am justified in taking whatever decisions and actions I need to achieve results? Do I realize that nothing I do occurs in a vacuum? Everything, my actions, choices, and decisions are in the context of relationships and community.
The recurring debates related to these questions have come up in the writings and conversations for several centuries. As often as I think it has been answered, life has an ironic way of showing myself my actions in the mirror and replaying the question from the start.
The questions that haunt my dark nights include the following.
What do I hope will happen to those with differing views, especially individuals that work at odds with my aspirations? Am I hoping that “those who pray for my ruin will be booed and jeered without mercy?” (Psalm 40.15) Am I so confident of my path that I think it is the only path for everyone around me?
There are mantras that I find myself holding onto.
Life comes with room for diversity. We can hold differing views; in and of themselves, these are do not need to be barriers to community. In fact, our diversity can make us stronger.
Whatever views, opinions, and thoughts one has, s/he is remains a child of God’s. We are connected. We are family. We are brothers and sisters. While we come with different wrappers and fillings, the one tailor also cuts us from the same cloth.
How we respond to the differences we find in others is a reflection of the respect and value we have for them. If honor, respect, and collaboration are seen in our actions, then greatness is possible. Anything else is a form a war.
I realize I have an opportunity to let go of yesterday battles and move towards new ground. It will not always be easy. Sometimes, one must do the right thing in hope that others will respond in like fashion. In the end, the ends do not matter. It is always about the means.