I frequently begin peacemaking sessions, whether they be private mediations or public facilitations with the statement, “Over the course of our time together, things are likely to get worse. But the only proven path to a deep, lasting peace is through the middle of the conflict.”
That’s not the message anyone wants to hear. We want quick fixes and easy outs. Some people rush to give in to the other side simply to end the conflict. Others want to impress with power and the righteousness of their position.
Those who truly build peace, however, are those who count the cost and find themselves willing to explore, desconstruct, and reconstruct the attitudes, feelings, and communications that have been distorted by conflict. That requires stepping into conflict and not away.
Avoidance and weak compromise may give temporary relief. Only honest grappling with the often entrenched seeds of conflict will bring deep peace. Only a willingness to engage to the point of understanding will bring lasting relief and a broader highway to both justice and mercy.