We fight for different reasons, and we often think our reasons in each situation are justified.
They aren’t always.
One question to ask is “Am I fighting for a relationship or against it?”
I know some of our fights seem less about relationships than issues, but shifting the focus to the relationships involved will deter us from justifying behaviors we shouldn’t. Because some battles are too costly. Some battles aren’t ours to fight. Most battles we should fight are only ours to fight in a specific time frame for specific purposes with specific methods.
We seem to have a lot of fighting happening right now that is doing more harm to relationships than help. We might feel justified, because we’ve banded together with a group who agrees with us. We think we can right the wrongs—real or perceived. But for most who join some fights, there’s not a lot we can do as individuals to directly impact the results. Others who are well-positioned can and might. But as we gather and herd and push, we are harming relationships. Our echo chambers sound great, but we’re not willing to step out of them long enough to listen to others. Perhaps it’s because we only trust those who affirm what we want to be true, and not just about the goal at hand but about our intent and process. The widespread effects are damaging, and they are not justifiable. Even if we claim, “but it’s the same approach taken when _____ happened!” The same people who were unhappy about that are using the same tactics and justifying them. When did we choose winning over relationships? When did we choose our agendas over community?
There are always going to be struggles. There are always going to be issues. There will always be injustices and differences. And we need to be willing to move through them but not at any cost. The ends don’t justify the means. You might disagree, and maybe it’s because I’m basing my claims on God’s Word, which you might reject or ignore. But for those who follow God’s Word, please pay attention to people. Please respect people. Please engage with people. Stop isolating yourself with people who are so much like you that you’ve determined anything that is filtered through truth filters is some sort of distorted censorship. There is no such thing as herd-discernment. Wisdom and discernment is a process that requires humility, pursuit, trust, and accountability. When we downplay or set those aside, we are in trouble.
Take today to pause. Retreat. Quiet yourself. Take inventory. Begin to listen with clean filters. A lot has been building up, and we need to do some power washing to loosen the gunk and clear the view. That power washing would also be well-directed toward our hearts, which have become hardened in so many ways, evidenced by a lack of compassion, patience, gentleness, kindness, love, and self-control.
Conflict can be necessary for healing, but it will only be healing when we fight for and within relationship instead of against it.