Spiritual Strategies for Peaceful Conflict Resolution ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

The Christian Science Monitor, April 14, 2003 | Go to article overview

Spiritual Strategies for Peaceful Conflict Resolution ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life


As the war in Iraq got under way, a US magazine published the first- person story of a woman whose husband is a helicopter pilot on the front lines. Despite her personal stake in the war's outcome, she could still say, "My heart just pours out to Iraqi families...."To see past the shooting and embrace families on the other side of the conflict is, in fact, a powerful prayer. It's a reminder that all of God's children are connected in the secret, spiritual place of His care that Psalm 91 describes: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."How much of a difference can prayer make in resolving conflicts? While I can't do much to shape military outcomes in combat areas, I can take better charge of how I think and act here at home. As armies clash and terror-threat levels rise, fear and distrust may cloud the normal balance and unity of God's universal family. Rediscovering that balance comes from better understanding the laws of God that embrace everyone - whether they're on the front lines, or in the checkout line.In doing what I can to promote peaceful relations, I pray to see that we're a world living under a power higher than our own. As I've sought ways to develop a stronger sense of inclusiveness, three concepts - you might call them spiritual strategies - have helped guide my thoughts and actions:* To think beyond just myself, beyond just today.* To challenge conventional thinking about relationships.* To make a significant difference.First, thinking beyond just myself or just today means being unselfish, patient, and caring. It means basing my actions on the bedrock of higher motives that come from spiritual reasoning, rather than on the ebb and flow of opinions. I pray daily to see that mine isn't the only path to salvation, and that our Father-Mother God loves and protects all His children impartially.Second, challenging conventional thinking about relationships has led me to work for peace - that is, to recognize that the invincible foundation of harmonious relationships is the ever-presence of God in the very minutiae of our daily lives. …

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