‘A Soul Matter’

Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

Have you noticed that conflict is everywhere?  According to an Executive Coaching Survey published by Stanford University, Company CEO’s feel a greater need to improve their conflict management skills than skills of any other type.  A study of parents would likely yield similar results.

Since we are aware that we live in a world of conflict then why can’t we solve the problem?  As you might expect a preacher to conclude…this is a ‘soul matter’ not a ‘skill-set’ solution.  While we can develop skills at how to ‘manage conflict’ that does not move us toward a peace-filled space.  It only gives a little space between conflicts.  So what are we to do?

The Arbinger Institute has published a book entitle ‘The Anatomy of Peace’.  I highly recommend it.  It is written in story form and easy to read but is profound in its timely truth for all of us.  For example one such truth reads “no conflict can be solved as long as all parties are convinced they are right.  Solution is possible only when at least one party begins to consider how they might be wrong...And in your conflicts with others, even if you are convinced you have been right in the positions you’ve taken, can you say with confidence that you have also been right in your ‘way of being’ toward them?  Can you say that you have been seeing them as people rather than as objects in your disagreements, and that your heart has therefore been at peace rather than at war toward them?”(Pp.58-59)

This is a ‘soul matter’ issue because it is about how we are toward others rather than who is right and who is wrong.  The Gospels are full of Jesus offering a ‘heart of peace’ toward others even in the midst of being misunderstood and being unfairly treated.  This is what the writer of Hebrews was saying when he said “For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”(Hebrews 10:30)  We are to approach others with a heart of peace not a heart of war.

Jesus’ words are vividly profound in our age of conflict…“love your neighbor as yourself.”(Matthew 19:19)  As I witness much conflict in our world it causes me to conclude that we live in a world full of people who don’t love themselves.  And when we don’t love ourselves, we inflate the faults of others in our hearts and mind so as to distance ourselves from our own disdain of ourselves.  We begin to ‘horribilize others’…we begin to make them out to be worse than they really are.  We do this because the worse they are, the more justified we feel. (P.96)  It is a ‘soul matter’.

So how is with our soul?  Is our soul at war or at peace?  The ‘Prince of Peace’ is still working in countless hearts, minds…souls today.  Let there be Peace on earth and let it begin with me…and you.

Always Thinking…


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