Hermeneutics is the name of the science of interpretation. When do we know we have made a good interpretation? When it is in keeping with the spirit of the thing. Often we make bad interpretations because we don’t suspend judgment until we are more certain of the spirit of the thing. Conflict is easy to misinterpret, perhaps because we suspend self-criticism, which Jesus calls hypocrisy. Mea culpa.
What does the divided world mean? Jesus connects world conflict with his “baptism.” World conflict is a symptom of world sin; Jesus died for the sins of the world.
But what about conflict in our intimate circles? It is not helpful to hurl accusations. It is better to admit our own inner division. When I am in conflict with you, it is because I am in conflict within myself. I am divided against you, which by God’s grace gives me opportunity to see how I am divided within myself. The sin I so quickly condemn in you covers a sin I am so unwilling to confess in myself. Without that confession, the division between you and me will never cease, because I remain divided against myself. With the confession, I am forgiven and whole and at peace.
Maybe it’s the same on the global level, too.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Amen. — RB