by Christopher Harbin

To Be Wronged
Christopher B. Harbin
1st Corinthians 6:5-13

How do we respond to one another? How should we respond? How should we fight? It is hard enough to respond appropriately to one another when all is going well. It is so much more difficult when one of us gets our nose out of joint. Civility, love, unity, peace, harmony, and self-control are that much harder to achieve in face of the least bit of provocation or disagreement. When we feel we have been wronged, what is our best response?

We have established norms for transacting business meetings in our country, in our church, and around the world which are based on Robert's Rules of Order. Few have ever read the structure of this pattern of rules for carrying out business, though we are familiar with the major points. We may be less familiar, however, with the origin of the rules in question, and, subsequently, their purpose.

The rules were written by a Brigadier General of the Army Corps of Engineers, Henry Martyn Robert. I am told he wrote the rules in order to keep arguments civil and orderly. There is much good from that, but there is also room for worry. We proceed to do business according to rules constructed to limit, organize, and keep a corporate fight civil. Even civil, however, the rules were apparently established for warring factions at odds with one another. Ground rules for fights do not necessarily encourage unity, peace, and harmony. They determine winners and losers, not what is the best outcome for the body as a united whole.

In today's national politics, there is talk of gun control legislation in Washington. Many take sides in the national debate as though there were no middle ground, as though mine were the only relevant position, as though any competing opinion is a personal attack and a declaration of war. In so much of our venting, something grave is amiss. There is an absence of civility. There is an absence of honest dialogue. There is an absence of ...

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