If reconciliation has any chance at all between warring parties it relies on many things coming together in unison—so often by the work of God’s miraculous grace. Time and the sufficiency of positive relational transactions are but two of the required elements, but there is also this aspect:
There is no value in taking sides.
Supreme value is placed in loving all parties, in spite of the issues of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
Sides are irrelevant. When we get beyond side-taking (and it’s something we have to watch so studiously) we give to all parties the fairness they are all due. Everyone has a stake in the truth, as everyone has a stake in the outcome.
Conflict Resolution’s Secret Weapon is simple: impartiality and courage to impart, both and together empowered by love, create space for reconciliation.
But first we must appreciate the vertical reality of the Theological Triplehorn: God has enshrined truth—in the relational context—in Righteousness, Justice and Fairness. These are profiled beautifully in the early-going of Proverbs. (See Chapters 1 and 2, particularly verses 1:3 and 2:9.)
The Vertical Reality Helping All Horizontal Realities
Conflict occurs in human relationships by the tenets of the horizontal reality—we cannot get away from human relationships. These are peer relationships in the broadest of contexts.
When we can focus on the vertical reality by the divinely inspired virtues of righteousness, justice and fairness, we are well placed to remain impartial, for there is nothing to be gained in conflict situations by taking a side or vacillating between one side and another.
We might ask how we do this focusing.
The underpinning desire that must flourish in our hearts is for reconciliation.
When we are naturally grieved because people are not reconciled, especially good Christian people who are known to forgive, we know that reconciliation (by process) has become King.
This is when Jesus has become King in our lives; that we are won to the process of doing whatever we can to merge disparate realities by the modality of harmony for all. When we consider this modality we are using, we find it’s all about God’s righteousness, justice and fairness—and that translates into impartiality in human terms.
There can be no side-taking in negotiating and resolving conflict. Indeed, impartiality is the blessing of God over many circumstances, and poignantly where there is disharmony. Love is manifest when we can remain impartial through no effort on our behalf—it’s as if, “There but for the grace of God go I,” into these relationship upsets.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.