Mathew 12:25 — New King James Version
But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”
In light of the political debates in the U.S., the civil war in Syria, the campaign of terror brought upon northern Iraq and parts of Syria by ISIS, and other instances of instability and unrest in other parts of the world, this little quote speaks volumes and brings a simple truth out in the open once again. I don’t expect the whole world to ever suddenly come to some kind of mutual agreement about anything–unless the world can agree on mutual survival out of stark desperation as a result of a world-wide calamity.
I got to thinking lately about the nature of the word, “War”. A definition I had been pondering (just one definition among many definitions), was the notion that War is basically a problem that no one wants to readily solve. Whether we are talking about a “Culture War” between Conservative Evangelical Christian Republicans and Liberal Progressive LGBT Democrats who can’t come to agreement over civil or human rights… or the “War on Drugs”… or the “War on Gun Violence”… the war between Big Oil and the Environment… Climate Change versus Industrialists… Capitalism versus Socialism… etc. The notion that a war stems from an unwillingness to seek compromise or consensus seems to be about where we are at now in the world. Nobody seems to have the courage or willingness to sit down and seek solutions based on compromise or negotiation or thoughtful, critical thinking.
People hold their positions stubbornly–sometimes for valid reasons, sometimes for very positive reasons… but others hold their positions for the sake of having argument, having debate, for the sake of personal gain or prestige or position. I don’t expect or want total agreement… but I do want thoughtful, constructive debate and decisions being made based on compromise and negotiation and reasoning.
No matter what war we are looking at, we are looking at sides that have no intent on budging or negotiating or working through the problems they face. They cease to look at the other side of the argument of conflict… they cease to consider there may be something valid or noteworthy on the other side. Or they cease to consider that there may be a simpler solution to the conflict that was overlooked in favor of a hostile response.
I got to thinking that war stems from problem solving gone wrong. I know that is the most dumbest, simplistic thing ever written or expressed… but that’s the point. In an effort to solve a problem, folks have to be willing to address the problem with the intent of finding a reasonable solution or resolution BEFORE the problem escalates or becomes more than it is. Wars have started over very petty things that could have been contained, solved, or addressed with simple common sense, some compromise, and some negotiation.
Unfortunately, we forgot how to act diplomatically or reasonably with each other it seems. We don’t know what it means to be civil to one another. We forget that there are cause and effect relationships behind every conflict. We look at the effect and try and slap band-aids on the effects of unresolved conflicts but forget to deal with the causes of these conflicts. And everyone panics or jumps in with a million and one ways to somehow solve the conflict– ignoring the source of the problem while debating the proposed solutions.
The more we argue for the sake of argument, the more divided we become. If we just stick to our labels and affiliations and clique attitudes and nationalistic, isolationist perspectives, we become divided as a race of human beings who share a single planet with finite resources that seems doomed to desolation. We get so busy and so invested in our niches that we fail to see the bigger picture– and I think once we see that bigger picture, the conflicts will be seen in a might greater light.