Saturday, February 26, 2011

Peace Quote of the Day - conflict resolution & spiritual growth

"Conflict provides an avenue for spiritual growth. To resolve conflict, by definition we must become more engaged, not less. Just when we want to 'tell the other person off,' we are forced to be quiet and listen to their complaint. Just when we are most eager to make ourselves understood, we must strive to understand. Just when we seek to air our grievances, we must labor to comprehend another's hurt. Just when we want to point out the fallacies and abusive behavior of someone else, we must ruthlessly evaluate our own offensive attitudes and behaviors."
(Gary Thomas, in Sacred Marriage)

I think that Thomas' view of (some of) what it takes to resolve conflict in marriage (his topic), is at the heart of any peacemaking process (as making peace will always necessitate resolving conflict). And as he sees this process in marriage as an avenue for spiritual growth - which I think he would define as growth as a person of moral character (and spirituality), and in relationship with God - so I think we can also see any conflict resolution in any peacemaking situation (whether Palestinians and Israelis, Muslims and Christians, or whoever) as an avenue for spiritual growth. (Note that Thomas sees practices of listening to others, striving to understand, laboring to comprehend another's hurt, and evaluating of one's own offensive attitudes and behaviors, as practices of spirituality. Call them something else if you like, but at the very least, they entail personal transformation.)

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