In the community of needy and homeless people in lower Bucks County, PA, I ask “why can’t we be friends?” https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=why+can%27t+we+be+friends+youtube&qpvt=why+can%27t+we+be+friends+youtube&FORM=VDRE
In real life, being friends is not as simple as portrayed in this whimsical musical video. Being friends, and keeping friends takes work, and you have to have the right philosophy, the right outlook on life. It depends on the content of your character.
It’s easy to be friendly and get along when nothing comes between people, especially with needy and homeless folks. But, alas, it’s not always smooth sailing, and conflicts arise for different reasons. Sometimes people are under pressure, as was the recent case when some friends graciously helped salvage lots of stuff from a house that someone in the hospital had sold. Sometimes it’s a case of greed, addictions, whether it be food (gluttony), cigarettes, material possessions, booze, drugs, you name it…
A response to a glutton’s question in this community illustrates the problem: “What do you care? All you care about is feeding your face at other people’s expense.”
Greed was the cause of conflict between the fictional characters in Frank Norris’ McTeague. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McTeague
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” -Romans 12:18
Peace is not just a matter of everybody agreeing and having no problems. In some cases, it’s a matter of misunderstanding and someone being overanxious for something in the heat of the moment. It’s best not to jump to conclusions and become angry.
Peace is where there is no confusion, that you know what is the right thing to do and you try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You may not always agree, but at least try to find out where the other person is coming from. Try understanding. Sometimes you’ll realize the motivation was right. Other times, you may find the other person is just a rat! In some cases, conflicts, misunderstandings can be resolved. Sometimes not. It is sometimes the case that the other party is just a user, someone who is just selfish. In the latter case, it’s a good idea to not put yourself in a position where someone can use you. But it’s wrong to harbor a grudge. This is something I’m working on in my life. I’m slowly putting aside anger about people who have grossly wronged me.
Somethings can be overlooked, and other, even valid issues don’t need to be dwelled on, repeated over and over again. And it’s important to forgive people for their wrong, although you shouldn’t put yourself in the same position again. A Christian brother once told me that if someone you’re walking with throws you over a bridge, to not go near bridges with that person.
There comes a point where attempts at reconciliation hits an impasse. Sometimes there is no common ground, principle. Take the character who comes to the community meals for the homeless and needy in Bucks County – Birdman. (please!) Sometime after I told Birdman he was annoying when he visited my table and tried to swipe whatever he could, he asked me why I think he is annoying. “I’ll take that as a rhetorical question,” I replied. (For those of you in Doylestown, a rhetorical question is one that does not require an answer.) Evidently, we are operating under different paradigms.
I’m trying to leave it at that, and I try not to make fun of Birdman too much. But this behavior cannot be tolerated. Two of the community meal hosts banned Birdman from the meals. And one in particular keeps an eye on this sparrow. In one case, when Birdman reached over a guy sitting at a table, the guy grabbed Birdman’s wrist and hit a pressure point, numbing his hand temporarily and warned Birdman if he ever came to his table again, he’d really hurt him. Force or the threat of force is sometimes needed to stop predators.
There are other quests at the meals I’ve called out for similar, but not nearly as egregious behavior, with whom, through a third party, I’ve at least made peace with, although there’s another party who is trying to stir up stink.
A defendant in a lawsuit, where it’s believed she was instrumental in having a guest at a community meal banned from the meal and the AHTN bus and disgraced while the drunk and disorderly homeless guest who attacked him let off Scott free, wants to resolve the problem. We’ll just have to wait and see.
“Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent –
The Lord detests them both” – Proverbs 16:15
Even when you have a righteous case against someone, if at all possible, as far as it depends on you, make peace.