As Americans we often look at this word as a means whereby discussions lead to agreement on one thing or another. The word itself was derived from the Latin and basically meant to do business. Unfortunately, the tact involved in negotiation has somewhat slipped into the abyss. Even in our own country, where freedom of speech is allowed, standing up for our own principles and ideas has taken a back seat to following the crowd, or doing what is popular or politically correct. We are asked to tolerate everything and yet our own opinions are very often overlooked and not tolerated at all.
Having a discussion or negotiating involves more that one person. The ultimate negotiation comes when both or all parties come to a satisfactory agreement. Usually this doesn’t happen when one side or the other refuses to budge.
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.”
The above Bible verse explores the possibility of disagreements being caused by inner fights within the mind or thoughts of one of the parties. In such cases, negotiation is pointless, because you will never change the mind of someone who is conflicted themselves. When we dive into the realm of politics and discuss these things with others, we can always plan on a fight of some kind. Most often it results in the defeat of one of the people involved. That defeat can lead to anger, revenge or retaliation in some form or another.
When we come together to share ideas – to try to come up with solutions to problems – make the necessary concessions – we need to come with an open mind, not rigidity, relentlessness or immovability, If we can’t do so, we’re shutting the door before we even have a chance to voice our thoughts and opinions.
Many who have this strong, stubborn streak are advocates for being tolerant and kind to everyone, but that doesn’t always manifest in their actions. Jesus wants us to love one another, even when we don’t always agree. Part of kindness is being willing to open yourself to other people’s opinions along with sharing your own without being negative.
We could use a little kindness right now. Our civilization is living on the edge. People are unsure of what lies ahead. They’re insecure, frightened and deeply concerned about the state of affairs in our world and in our homes. Please, if you are going to talk about vaccinations, COVID19, masks or the political climate in our world, stop and think before you speak and do so in a way that you’d want to be treated.