Planting the Seeds of Peace

Written by Andrew Moore

Jan 17, 2020

Fri, January 17, 2020

Finding consensus and compromise around a contentious issue, and then moving forward in agreement and harmony is both a skill and an art.

Finding and around a contentious issue, and then moving forward in agreement and is both a skill and an art. Perhaps the best illustrative example that I can think of is the intricate negotiations involved in buying a carpet in a traditional Turkish market. It is an extraordinary process. You walk past the shop or stall casting furtive glances inside, the owner equally furtively sizing you up comes out and warmly invites you in. You are offered a glass of sugary mint tea as carpets are rolled out in front of you. All kinds of things are going on at this stage. You are working out whether you really want to buy a carpet, how much you are prepared to pay for it, and how on earth you are going to get it home on the airplane. The carpet dealer is trying to work out whether you can afford it at a price which gives him a reasonable profit, how much you would be prepared to pay for it, and whether or not you understand the etiquette of bargaining. Both sides know that the potential buyer can just walk away, and then it is up to the seller to decide whether to run after them with a new price, or to let them go. The whole ritual is a reality test and an attempt to find common ground, to get the best deal possible for both sides. Jesus had quite a bit to say about deal-makers, commending both those who were shrewd as well as generous. His parables are full of examples of interactions between employers and employees, and merchants and managers, each of which reminding us of something vital; the point of negotiations is not to get what you want at expense of the other party, but to find a mid-point where both sides gain more than they would have done if they had walked away. Whether those negotiations involve international diplomacy, buying a Turkish carpet, or within our own personal relationships the fact remains the same. Compromise and concession are the currency that builds trust, and with trust comes dialogue. We can all see in the world around us the hurt and distrust which arises when dialogue breaks down in the midst of difficulty. In that event, peace slips from our grasp. Dialogue, compromise, and with them peace can only be regained when both sides are prepared to give a little. So let us pray that we might be examples of the compromise that we wish to be planted as the seeds for peace. After all, as Jane Wells wrote; “Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.”

About Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore is the Spiritual Life Associate Chaplain at Beatitudes Campus
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