During the US Civil War, hatred became entrenched between the North and South. In one instance, President Abraham Lincoln was criticized for speaking of benevolent treatment for the Southern rebels. The critic reminded Lincoln that there was a war going on, the Confederates were the enemy, and they should be destroyed. But Lincoln wisely responded, “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”
In Tennyson’s classic poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” valiant cavalry troops riding into battle are described by the imposing phrase, “Into the valley of death rode the six hundred.” Those words portray a sense of foreboding that anticipated the tragedy that lay before them.
On a recent trip, the flight attendant asked if I flew very often. When I said I did, he asked, “Have you noticed people on planes becoming increasingly more belligerent and aggressive in recent months?” I had to confess that I agreed with him. We began talking about what might be contributing to it—things like increased airport security, higher costs, fewer services, and a general dissatisfaction with travel. As if to prove the point, our conversation was interrupted by a passenger who refused to sit in his assigned seat because he liked someone else’s seat assignment better!
When Shayla McKnight applied for a job for an online printing company, she was surprised to learn that they had a zero-tolerance policy for gossip. The employees are encouraged to confront one another, instead of gossip about their fellow employees. If employees are caught gossiping, they are reprimanded, and if they continue, they are fired.
Iwatched from my balcony as a 20-story apartment building was demolished. The demolition took barely a week to complete. In its place a new building is being constructed. It’s been months now, and despite construction activities going on nights and weekends, it is still incomplete. How much easier it is to tear down than to build up!
November 9, 2010, marked the 21st anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. On that day in 1989, an announcement over East German TV informed people that they were free to travel to West Germany. A day later, East German bulldozers began to dismantle the wall that for 28 years had divided East and West Germany.
Today is observed in many countries as International Conflict Resolution Day. Its purpose is to encourage people to use mediation and arbitration rather than the legal system to settle their differences. Because we as followers of Christ are not immune to conflict, we need to learn how to resolve our disagreements in ways that honor the Lord.
The e-mail contained nothing but Bible verses, and it came from someone I didn’t know very well at a time when there was disagreement among members of a church committee I was on. I assumed that the verses were aimed at me in an accusing way, and I was angry that someone who didn’t know all the issues involved would use Scripture to attack me.