Pope Francis believes, “for peace to occur in the world we need to go above and beyond, loving and forgiving others even when it is undeserved. Jesus inserts the power of forgiveness into human relationships. In life, not everything is resolved with justice.” Thus, Pope Francis is asking us to resolve issues even if it comes at a personal cost. So, the question is what does it mean coming at a personal cost?
I believe the first down payment is swallowing your pride. Instead of getting involved in a power struggle where the resolution is defined by a positive outcome for my own benefit, I attempt to reach a compromise. Thus, a win, win situation for all parties.
My second instalment is time. Sometimes you just have to resolve issues over a longer period. It is better to take a while to sort the problem for all stakeholders then look for a quick fix. Therefore, your time may be diminished for other things you would rather be doing however spending time to achieve a solution may result in long-term benefits in your relationships with others.
My final payment is taking yourself out of your comfort zone. We all have a picture in our heads of how we want a certain situation to go however it never seems to pan out that way. Therefore, you need to be flexible and react in a calm manner otherwise you have no effective input into that situation.
Furthermore, when the conflict is ongoing, I put it in the hands of God inspired by this scripture, Ephesians 3.20
. “God will do abundantly, above and beyond all that you could ask for or think.” He says he is going to go past the reach of our greatest prayers. Then beyond all we could think or envision!”
In Luke 2:22-32 Jesus is presented in the temple, (as it is written in the law of the Lord, every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord.) What I really like in this Gospel story is Simeon’s role in the story affirming Jesus as the one who came to bring salvation for peoples of all nations. The honour and joy he must have felt to have Jesus the Messiah presented in the Temple to him in his lifetime.
I think that would have been on top of Simeon’s wish list of all the things that he would like to happen in his life to have met Jesus knowing he was the promise of salvation. For me it is the keeping the promises that enables them to reach their fulfilment. So, what are the drawbacks with promises?
The first issue I have with promises is the waiting period. Imagine the Jewish people listening to the prophets saying a Messiah is coming hoping that it was to be in their lifetime. Thus, for me it was like being promised by your parents a birthday present or the possibility of a holiday it is a matter of trust that it is going to be kept.
Secondly, for me there is no guarantee that it is going to happen. How many times have promises been broken? Often because with the promise came an unrealistic expectation either from the person making the promise or the person for whom the promise was made? Surely, this is a judgement call with caveats such as buyer beware or read the fine print raising a red flag. Hence, it is important recognise where the promise is coming from.
Finally, circumstances can derail a promise. Frequently, coaches of Sporting Clubs promise the fans that their team will be successful this season. However, injuries, players being transferred or the coach being sacked sabotages the promise of success ruining their season. Therefore, as a fan you become frustrated that your team has failed to achieve expectations, particularly for me as a Buffalo Bills fan wondering if they will ever win the Superbowl in my lifetime.
Consequently, how fortunate was Simeon to witness Jesus, the Messiah, the fulfilment of a promise. Indeed, how lucky are we when people keep their promises in our lives particularly the coaches of teams we support.