Transforming our conflicts

This Sunday, we have a special opportunity to reflect on the whole matter of conflict in our lives and in the world. Our guest preacher, the Reverend LeDayne McLeese Polaski, has studied this matter extensively and will bring us new insights and coping strategies (special thanks to Janet Davies for introducing her to us and for organizing the afternoon workshop!).

Conflict is something we all have to deal with. Sometimes it’s just annoying; at others it can be overwhelmingly painful. A mere glance at the world around us reveals how poorly we humans handle our disagreements. No one makes it through life unscathed by them.

When we get hurt by conflict we can easily fall into self-pity and feel increasingly vengeful, cynical, and oppressed. These feelings can be so powerful that it might not even occur to us that there is a way out.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to “turn the other cheek.” It’s very significant that he didn’t say TURN THE SAME CHEEK. He’s not telling us that we should allow ourselves to be abused, but rather that we should find creative solutions to dealing with our enemies.

Sometimes our enemies are our greatest teachers, but it’s up to us — to how we relate to them and interpret the experiences we have with them — whether they will end up instructing us or destroying us.

There truly is a different way to handle conflict than the “mutually assured destruction” approach.

This Sunday, we have a valuable opportunity to learn how to transform conflict into something positive, useful, and even life-changing.

With love and expectation,

Evan Howard,