(A book by Cheri Meiners: Talk and Work it Out):
Erin, whose name means peace in Gaelic, was trying to learn how to get along with lots of different people.
Because sometimes she did not agree with her brother. And sometimes she did not get along with her friends.
But Erin was slowly figuring out it's okay to have different ideas and opinions.
She is also figuring out that when someone really does something that bothers her -she doesn’t have to give them the cold shoulder – she can choose to work things out.
She can stop and take a deep breath to calm herself. Before saying something she may regret.
Erin can choose to take some time to think about what to do - before choosing to act, hopefully making things better rather than worse.
Erin can talk to the person who has bothered her: looking at the person and explaining how she has been hurt.
Then, together, they can choose to talk about the problem. Both trying to listen and understand each other.
Together, they can choose to think about ways to solve their problem, hurt, or misunderstanding.
And then choose the best way to move forward.
Erin can choose to listen and think about how the other person feels.
She can certainly learn more about a problem when listening to another point of view.
As Erin talks about the problem, she can choose to be polite and friendly, rather than trying to blame or just being nasty about it all. This certainly can help everyone feel good, and valued, and to be able to understand things better.
Working together, they can probably come up with lots of ideas to move forward - again, if they just listen to one another.
Both can simply ask the question: what do you think?
And then If the problem is still unresolved: they can ask others for their help and input.
Then, they can think about each idea:
-What might happen if we did this?
-Can we both walk away happy?
-Do we just have to sit a bit with our ideas before we move on?
Erin wants to have a plan that’s good for her and the one she is having conflict with – and she has many, many, MANY choices to make sure this happens.
Erin and the other person might choose to share, to take turns, to cooperate to make things work or do something nice instead of holding on to the anger or hurt.
Even when it is hard to find an answer everyone likes, which often happens - Erin knows she can still choose to be respectful to the other person – which is one of the more important choices she can make.
Erin is trying to learn how to solve problems peacefully -- and is finding out that getting along with others can even be more important than always getting her way.
Erin has found that if she cares about someone else's ideas and feelings as much as she does her own -- - she can usually find a way to work things out: by all the different choices she can make along the way. After all, she does want to live up to her name: Erin: which means peace in Gaelic.
(End of Book)
Jesus calls us to be saints – but he knows we aren’t there yet.
And Jesus calls us to love one another as he has loved us - but he know we aren’t there yet.
Because Jesus knows wherever two or three are gathered – there is going to be conflict – misunderstandings – hurt feelings – and anger – if we also don’t make the right choices along the way. . .
No one I know enjoys conflict. And not many people I know like confrontation - but if we are going to be saints, if we are going to love each other – then we have to do these things.
Trouble is, no one ever really teaches us how to do them. . . and that’s what Jesus is trying to do today - teach us how to resolve conflict.
1st, we go and talk to that person we are having difficulty with – not talk ABOUT them. Not GOSSIP about them - but go and talk with them.
If that doesn’t work, get some people to sit down with you – not so that you are ganging up on the person - but so that you can put many minds and hearts to the task of figuring out a resolution.
And if that doesn’t work – take it to Church – which means we are going to put in lots of prayer time about it.
And then, when all else fails: treat them like a tax collector or a Gentile. Which how did Jesus treat these people? With patience and respect as he sat and ate with them.
If we want to be saints, as Jesus calls us to be. And we want to love others, as Jesus wants us to – then we have to be able to resolve our differences.
Otherwise, we give into the temptation of satan – who of course wants us to be divided, rather than united.
So once again, we have to be able to say: get behind me satan - because I want to think and act and speak like Jesus. . .
Moments in time...