The conflicts within our nation deeply grieve me. How can blaming, name-calling, and other techniques of evasion affect healing in any of us? There’s no easy and simple solution. As others have notably recognized, it’s only by conquering the enemies within us that we can conquer the enemies outside of us.
When facing an angry crowd of self-righteous people bent on stoning an abused and “sinful” woman, Jesus declared, “Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one the accusers dropped their stones and left.
Who in our day is willing and able to balance truth and grace so effectively? For deep and lasting conflict resolution, both are essential. In his book, Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud offers valuable insights and practical help for gaining and maintaining this truth-grace balance.
Cloud’s description of the “wise”, the “foolish”, and the “evil” person is outstanding. While he points out the necessity of ending some relationships, he does not advocate unnecessary endings. He gives clear guidelines for conflict resolution so that we can cultivate healthy seeds in our souls–gentleness, kindness, goodness, peace, and love.
Neither grace nor truth standing alone can save us from destructive seeds within us, such as arrogance, hatred, revenge, envy, greed, and apathy.
Truth, by itself, denounces and destroys persons, yet does nothing to empower healthy change. Grace, by itself, overlooks seeds of destruction and falls prey to its own and others unhealthy tendencies.
In today’s poem, I’ve tried to express my concern in a positive manner. It’s not my intention to name names or take sides in the political arena. It’s my desire and hope that we will all choose to become the kind of citizens that promote greatness in the entire world.
We often hurt each other in unexpected ways;
We don’t mean to do it; disease makes sad our days.
An invasive cancer resides in every soul and spirit;
We may refuse to see this; yet, it is inherent.
Self-righteous denial blinds us to the truth
And foolishly we trust those evil and uncouth.
When arrogant defiance is enthroned in our land
How long can we survive? How long can we stand?
Reconciliation will come when to this we agree:
We all chose foolishness and error to some degree.
Humility is the grace that empowers leadership;
It saves us from harshness; yet, strengthens our grip,
Giving us the courage to remove all cancerous growth;
Let us not resign in despair but retain faith and hope.
9/7/2018 Jane Ault