Conflict is difficult. We struggle to understand why we are fighting with the very people who are important to us. We find that we are in the middle of battles that we never intended to participate in, much less take the credit for starting. The major challenge often begins when we realize that we are in the middle of a serious difference of opinion and we cannot see a path for either side to exit. Is there any real hope in this reality?
Yesterday, while I was in the heart of an intense discussion, I realized that everyone in the room was coming from a different starting point. There were several unique beginnings and, each in their own way, special perspectives. Searching for a common exit begs the question of the how anyone would be satisfied given different agendas, purposes, and needs. We tried to see things from each other's perspective, however, the needs of each continued to block our view. The only thing positive about yesterday's discussion is that we left the issues open for further discussion. We knew we were hitting a roadblock, did not know a viable solution, and so left it peacefully to another day.
In the darkness of the morning hours, it is easy to quietly sit back and scan the events for the day. Travel arrangements to finalize, letters to compose and get out in the mail, bills to be submitted, conflicts to be discussed, and new steps to be taken in faith.
I have no idea what the day will look like by the time I fall asleep. I do know that I need a fresh starting point. Solomon pointed it out for all. “[God is] a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere.” (Proverbs 2.6)
God laid out principles of unconditional acceptance, mercy, and forgiveness. For me this translates into beginning with an assumption of trust in a colleague's motives and the willingness for open dialogue. I can only do this with God at my side!