“Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her…”
—Genesis 16:6 (ESV)
The three responses found on the left side of the slippery slope are called the escape responses. People tend to use these responses when they are more interested in avoiding a conflict than resolving it. This attitude is common within the church, because many Christians believe that all conflict is wrong or dangerous.
Thinking that Christians should always agree, or fearing that conflict will inevitably damage relationships, these people usually do one of three things to escape from conflict.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 23.
Food for Thought
The other day, I saw a man working on a computer in our office. In passing, I made a comment about the machine working just fine on Friday, to which he replied, “Well, it was shut down this morning and just flashing ‘error messages.’ I’m trying to isolate the problem now.”
By isolating, he meant patiently and methodically troubleshooting one thing at a time until he found the culprit. Of course in this sense, isolating the parts of the computer was an important and necessary step; but only a temporary condition. Once the faulty component was identified and repaired, it would then have to rejoin the rest to make the machine whole again and function as designed.
If only human relationships were so easy to repair. We often don’t see the ‘error messages.’ Yet, there may be some principles we can apply. The machine only functions if all the components have access to each other. One part disengaged, or in isolation, causes the machine to function improperly; sometimes altogether.
From a relationship perspective, we might think of the escape responses as isolation or disengagement. There can be no real relationship when one disengages or isolates oneself longer than necessary to identify and repair the problem. The implications are far and wide. If relationships fail, so do the families and communities. If families and communities fail, society fails.
Let’s use times of disengagement or isolation to pray and reflect on how we might ‘glorify God’ or ‘get the log out’ of our own eye; then return to relationship where others will have access to us. Otherwise, we might lose our footing and slip too far off the slippery slope.
—Randy E. Williams, Median, OH (Copyright 2009)
~~wow, another one that hits home with me, I tend to isolate when I’m getting depressed or going through a tough patch. This last patch has been goin on for 18 months. Far too long. I long to get out and interact again. Someday soon.