Summary: How to deal with disputes with a Biblical outlook.
“There are always two sides to an argument; and they are generally married to each other;” a common expression which is all too common in the daily life of a married couple. Arguments, whether bitter or just a simple spat will occur from time to time, as if you didn’t already know that. Confusion over what each person means and why such an argument came about can be painful. Why is she getting so upset over the toilet seat being up, we’ve only been married 15 years and I have never put it down? Why is he getting upset after all this time over me forgetting to check the oil of the car? Even children are a part of family squabbles from time to time and they may not even understand the situation. If they don’t understand the situation, then they won’t understand why they are being punished. Maybe some better communication lines would help. Learning a better way to resolve conflict might be a very good idea. A good and seemingly eternal question is “how do we deal with it?”
Back in the year 1902, Argentina and Chile finally ended a long struggle over the borders between their two respective countries. To commemorate this event, they built an enormous statue of Jesus Christ at the center of the Andes. Everything seemed to be going fine until the statue had been completed. The Chileans saw that the statue faced away from them and towards Argentina. They were infuriated that such an act would have been done by their neighbors. As their anger raged, a news columnist wrote something very simple that calmed their emotions. “The Argentineans need more watching over than the Chileans.” The Chileans laughed and enjoyed the moment of hilarity. Another war had been averted by the kind and quick witted words of just a single man.
Does the bible say anything about dealing with arguments? One man in great authority had probably the worst dispute in the world to deal with. He had to deal with the Jewish leaders pushing their agendas on Rome without making the Roman emperor angry. Pontius Pilate found himself being woken up by a mob outside of his home; the praetorium. Pontius lived in an estate above the barracks. A Jewish mob had come to bring accusation against a man and have him killed. Pilate was the provincial governor and had the responsibility of handling the mob before it became a riot against Rome. If Rome found out that he wasn’t governing his own land, they would remove him and put someone else there. Yet, his job was to seek justice, and not personal gain. We may be able to learn a thing or two from Pontius whether from his mistakes or his good deeds. We can resolve conflict easier! It doesn’t have to be a bitter struggle to the very end. Pontius makes at least one good effort and two mistakes that we can learn from; first he listened to both sides of the argument, secondly he questioned truth, and thirdly he should have preserved justice. Pilate heard both sides of the story but when truth comes, he questions the very idea of it and soon enough he caves to the pressure to just give in to the mob. Let’s take a little bit and review the interaction between Pilate, Jesus, and the mob of Jews and see if we can learn some conflict management skills.