"All the law can do is restrain the heartless. It cannot change the human heart. This requires something more powerful than law—compassion—without which the fullness of justice cannot be achieved."
How do we resolve conflicts in our homes, workplace, schools, community, etc.? I have heard some say if only diversity were removed from their community, there will be peace and things would become more coherent. If anything, the unfortunate global situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic goes to show that change is the only constant thing in life, and regardless of race, social, or ideological differences, we are all interconnected. As long as we have right and left, men and women, religious and nonreligious, baby boomers and millennials, there will be differences and conflicts.
All we need is the capability and willingness to manage these conflicts by prioritizing the values of mutual care and respect, participation and truth telling, reconciliation and peacemaking, and healing and social transformation. Although this may appear to be a difficult undertaking that involves conscious effort, no one is ever beyond the reach of compassion or exempt from the obligation to show compassion, because this is a treasure inherent in each of us. As a parent, I have had a few occasions to disagree with my child’s teachers, especially on issues conflicting with my ideals and cultural and religious background. Such dissimilarities, without a heart of compassion, can escalate and provoke a negative response that becomes a barrier to achieving a restorative outcome.
Compassion, as the central pillar of human existence, is the cornerstone and the key to unlocking effective conflict resolution. Well-crafted policies and law do not dictate one’s restorative response to conflict. Rather, it is one’s determination to let compassion overrule all the forces that push in the opposite direction.