A ‘failing’ country?

My country is in a mess. The people are pretty much divided down the middle (although most are getting increasingly fed up with the cause of the division and want it to just be sorted). The government is largely powerless, unable to enact much of what it wants to do, and the political opposition seem almost as divided amongst themselves. If the political system were a school I’m sure it would be pronounced as failing and put into special measures! Who knows what is going to happen over the next few days and weeks.

I am of course mostly talking about the division caused by Brexit. I was (and probably still am) personally in favour of the UK staying in the European Union, but am disappointed with both sides of the argument for the way the debate and ongoing approaches to resolving the ‘issue’ of Brexit have and are being conducted. Both sides have become increasingly polarised, and seem focused on deciding the best strategies to achieve their preferred outcome (or at least as close to it as they can get). Many on both sides are truly passionate about their cause, honestly believing, it seems, that what they advocate is much the best for the country and that the alternative would be a disaster.

But the end result of all this conviction and determination to bring about what they believe in, is a divided and incapacitated country where other important issues get left by the way side. Many politicians seem to not realise that if they get their way, be it a relatively ‘hard’ or even no deal Brexit, or a cancellation of Brexit altogether, this will leave a sizable chunk of the population on the other side of the argument heartily disillusioned and angry at what has been brought about. Instead the country needs a reconciliation between the two sides, seeking to understand and accommodate the concerns of those with another point of view, working together to achieve a compromise which might not be anyone’s preference but at least is something all can live with.

The thing is, that while there are some issues which are too important to compromise on, there are also many issues where maintaining relationships and keeping a concern for other points of view are more important than winning the argument or getting your own way. Few would argue with this, and we could readily identify some matters which we can all agree fall into either the no compromise, or happy to compromise categories. But many issues are less clear, and while less important will nevertheless stir up a sizable minority who see it as a ‘no compromise’ matter, maintaining the fight to the bitter end to the detriment of all. Brexit seems to be one of these.

So how can we decide when to focus on the relationship and compromise for the sake of it, and when it’s imperative that we stand up for what we believe, no matter what? I believe this is something best not left for us to decide ourselves (as we will each come to a different conclusion). It’s better to look outside ourselves to one who is much wiser, to the God who doesn’t stay silent about masters of justice and righteousness but at the same time is in the business of reconciliation!

For God … through Christ … reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. (Colossians 1:20)

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