The opposite of unity is tragically far more pervasive than the alternative in this current day and age of sensationalism, false news and anyone spewing just about anything they care to say anytime and anywhere. Relational chaos when issues become more important than people.
When it comes to our personal relationships with family and friends (including social media contacts) we do have control in how we react to anything that makes us feel dis-unified with them.
Jesus was all about relationships. Jesus focused less on conflict and past sins than he did on support and encouragement of those he met, including tax collectors, criminals and the woman at the well. Jesus was more about growing in relationship and moving ahead into unity rather than dwelling on the past. Jesus certainly didn’t hold a grudge…even against those who nailed him to a cross.
Pray for wisdom and patience.
When we are faced with an opportunity to bring about unity from relational chaos or dis-unity, we can pray for the strength, wisdom and patience of the Holy Spirit to guide us to a peaceful place from where we can begin to communicate.
Professional mediators use many tools that we can employ in our response to bring about unity.
Listening attentively. Good communication involves less talking and more listening (and certainly no screaming).
Respond clearly (avoiding defensiveness) by restating what the other person said so they know you have heard and understand them.
Ask the right questions in respectful kindness to appreciate their whole story.
Show Empathy. Affirm common/shared feelings even if anger or frustration.
Affirming one another’s feelings is a big step in reaching true understanding and unity.
Mediation requires much patience (and many deep breaths) in direct relation to how heated the particular issue is for you. This is why prayer must come first. We are much better at finding unity when we first invite God to be in on the conversation.
May prayer, patience and perseverance bring peace and understanding.
His light dwells within each of us.
– Amy Righi
Director of Music & Liturgy, St. Isidore