The Problem of Hatred

Ed.’s Note: One might expect a father to be pleased when one of his children does well. Surely, this father is. Below please find an essay written by Diana Miller Aldrich, who is a blogger, homemaker, wife, mother, and student pursing a Master of Arts in Public Policy, online.
Completing an assignment for her “Conflict and Communication” class, Diana wrote the essay below in response to the article: “Hatred’s End: A Christian Proposal to Peacemaking in a New Century, by John Dawson,” which is chapter 12 in the textbook, “Forgiveness and Reconciliation,” by Helmick and Petersen, Eds.

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There is a problem of hatred in the world today. Hatred exists because the world is comprised of human beings all given to the emotions of “envy, fear, and contention” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 234). Hatred often results from suffering some form of hurt and it is “impossible to have lived without being hurt” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 230). The church is not immune from hurting others and is itself often divided, something called “sectarian division” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 236). Hurts caused by Christians can hurt the most because individuals “anticipate Christ-like behavior” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 230) from other Christians. 

Understanding the power of the cross and Christ’s sacrifice, a Christian should “take up the cross and apply it to his or her own identity” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 232). In this way Christians strive to fulfill the words of John 17:23, “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” The author believes in a church-based reconciliation model that emphasizes confession, repentance, reconciliation and restitution (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 236). The author concludes a need for radical action. One example is that the author, a white man, moved himself and his family into a predominately African-American community. While he strongly believes in the need for radical actions such as this, he acknowledges the “journey as a reconciler may be very different” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 239) for different individuals.

Two of the article’s weaknesses involve the idea of a third-party reconciler (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 242) and the reference to “the sins of the land” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 237). There has already been a third-party reconciler named Jesus, and a greater reconciler will never exist. It is doubtful a fallen and sinful human can duplicate the “genius of the cross” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 242), unless Mr. Dawson is appealing to the idea that we be “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1). Explanation is needed in describing how individuals “in no way guilty for the sins of his or her ancestors” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 237) can “confess the sins of the land” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 237).

By echoing the ideals of empathic communication strategies, the author’s ideas contribute to conflict management. Reconciliation will fail if it is made to be mechanical (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 244) and reconcilers are encouraged to exhibit empathy in that they “study the other party and respond appropriately” (Helmick and Petersen, 2001, p. 244). This is the “first step … to make an effort to understand the other individual” (Borisoff and Victor, 1998, p. 54). If it is true that “the feeling of being heard is so close to the feeling of being loved that most people cannot tell the difference” (Cahn and Abigail, 2014, p. 82), then the Christian employing this communication strategy has come that much closer to loving others as Christ first loved us.

(Ed.’s Note: Based on content alone, one can discern why the essay is worthy of public consumption.)

References
Borisoff, D. & Victor, D. (1998). Conflict Management: A Communication Skills Approach. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Cahn, D. & Abigail, R. (2014). Managing Conflict Through Communication. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Helmick, R. & Petersen, R. (2001). Forgiveness and Reconciliation. Radnor, PA: Templeton Foundation Press.