Pick relationships over solutions

Published 9:04pm Monday, July 2, 2012

There was a man who traveled for days by train, car and boat to one of the furthest islands in the nation.

As he surveyed the bleak but inspiring landscape, he turned to a local citizen and said, “You’re very remote here, aren’t you?” She responded, “Remote from what?”

That is the question we must ask ourselves as a community and as a nation.

We hold on to the mantra that we are a united nation and united we stand. If this is true, why do our ideas seem so remote from others? Why is there so much conflict and division among us?

The Bible explains it like this: “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it the whole army of evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight to take it away from them. But the reason you don’t have what you want is that you ask for the wrong reason, that you can use them for your own pleasures.”

In other words, the cause of conflict is competing desires. Only when we see things from our perspective without consideration of a different point of view is when we think that other perspectives are remote.

The reason why we struggle to come closer together is due to the “I” syndrome. I want what I want! I need what I need! And, I am going to get it at any cost!

Those that live by such sentiments react to differences in perspectives and ideas by trying to get their way all of the time. They will assert their will until you give in. What they are saying is they are totally right and you are totally wrong. They won’t stop until they win.

Another reason we remain isolated from others is because some of us suffer from the “withdraw” syndrome. Those who suffer from this syndrome usually back away from people who have a different perspective.

Instead of trying to understand others, they choose to ignore them and avoid them at all costs. Potential conflicts never get resolved because they keep walking away.

Then there are those who suffer from the doormat syndrome. They always give in to others because they like feeling approved. So they pretend their ideas are not important. They choose not to upset the status quo, but on the inside they are frustrated because every time they give in, they lose more of their identity.

Most people find themselves in the posture of compromise. They give in a little and you give in a little. This way, everyone gets a little of what is wanted by both parties. It sounds good in theory, but yet you walk away unfulfilled. We usually call this meeting half way.

If we are going to be united as we move forward, we must choose the best way to remove the barriers that divide and cause us not to understand or appreciate other perspectives.

We do so by working together, not only to solve problems, but in efforts to build relationships instead of tearing each other apart.

When we choose relationship over solutions, we are guaranteed to move forward together in a more effective and committed way.


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