Understanding All the Sides of a Conflict

As you develop your spiritual practice, one attribute you want to strive to bring into your awareness is that of discernment. But to discern means you must bring in much information and then seek God’s guidance about how to interpret the information.

What I have discovered through a lifetime of observing people leads me to believe that many, if not most, people bring in just enough information to reinforce their existing beliefs or prejudices and then just stop.

There is often more to the story than what we pick up through general news reports. For example, most of us have read about the “exploited workers” in China’s factories. But has anyone actually talked to those workers to uncover just what they are really thinking? Reporter Leslie T. Chang did. She spent a couple of years living among those Chinese young workers and presented her story in a TED Talk. Turns out that reality is far different from what you read in The New York Times or Wall Street Journal.

We now have another conflict in the Palestinian area. Once again Israel thinks it can achieve peace and security through bombing and shooting. Once again the Palestinians think the same thing. It hasn’t worked for 4,000 years. Why think it will now? What are people on each side really thinking? Who can tell the real story and perhaps bring some discernment? I have yet to read anything but typical reactive reporting.

What situations in your life exist where it would be good to stop and consider what the other side is really thinking? To stop and consider each side as people rather than theoretical objects? We should ask for discernment from God to be a peacemaker rather than conflict perpetrator.

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