Saturday, Jan. 2
“Quarrels would not last long if the wrong were only on one side.—La Rochefoucauld. Some of you might remember the old saying “It takes two to tango.” Most dances involve two people, generally a male and a female. When it comes to quarrels, maybe it should be “It takes two to tangle.” The point here is that if one person is upset with another, it escalates when the “other one” fights back. In sports, it is often said that the referees catch the one who retaliates, not the one who initiated the action. The above quotation makes a good point, but it also opens a Pandora’s box of debatable issues. Do I just let people run all over me and do nothing? Do I not defend my home and my loved ones when faced with an intruder? Are we not to resist a Hitler or the Islamic radicals? The Bible doesn’t make it easy. God instructed Israel to wipe out all the Canaanites—men, women, and children. Putting some of those issues aside for a moment, there is a root principle here. There are ways to rectify disagreements. It doesn’t have to escalate into a fight. That would apply to individual frictions as well as national and international ones. The New Testament has a lot to say about peace. Romans 12:18 says “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” That not only spells out the goal and the prospect for resolving conflicts, but allows for failure. Just as it takes two to tangle, it takes two to make peace. We need to make sure we are doing all we can, but it depends on the other person, too. Bolivia has an interesting concept when it comes to conflicts. An auto accident, for example, is never just one person’s fault. The accident would not have happened if only one person was at fault. So if I think that the other person is the one that was wrong, I might consider how I might have prevented it from happening. And, of course, there is no substitute for loving the other person and demonstrating it.