“Purity of heart is to will one thing.” — Soren Kierkegaard
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
In my current teaching situation there’s a generalized conflict which all teachers (but not student teachers) are involved. As I am present but not a participant it’s sad for me to see how embittered people can grow towards one another. People start to suspect those who disagree with or oppose them of wrongdoing and treat them according to that suspicion. When money is involved the stakes are higher and the behavior more self-protective and, at times, aggressive. It really grieves me to see this and to know that because this is a secular institution, the words of the Prince of Peace hold no currency here and cannot, explicitly, effect change in the situation.
One of my students acted out in a pretty serious way today. I pulled him out of class and had a serious conversation with him. It came out that he was upset because other students in the class were teasing him and he was responding by asserting himself in other venues and challenging my authority. We brainstormed together and came up with solutions. I had private conversations with a couple of other students and dealt with their side of the equation, too. The student who had previously been so upset calmed down and worked well for the rest of the period.
When a 7th grader freaks out I can pull him out of class and talk to him. We can resolve it together and return to the order of the classroom. When an adult (in a position of power) makes poor decisions for bad reasons you can’t just pull him out of class and talk him down. Adults get to act how they want to act. Adults get to be embroiled in arguments and power struggles, if they choose.
Christians can be peacemakers in these situations, God willing. Such we are called to be. Such I desire to be, to the extent I’m able.