I want to commend many of our community’s citizens for showing a passion for the happenings of our city government. I fear, however, that this passion at times becomes unproductive. I would like to appeal to all of the City of Italy leaders, employees, volunteers and citizens to move forward.
The first step to healing and moving forward requires each of us to discipline ourselves and master our anger. Pause and take a breath, and don’t allow a careless word or action committed against you to lead you to utter your own careless words. You are only responsible for what you can control, yourself.
The second step is to seek godly counsel. I would urge all parties involved to seek to connect themselves to a voice of guidance, possibly your pastor or another trusted counselor. Work out your frustrations in private through pastoral counseling with someone you trust to keep confidence. In such a manner, pointless harsh words and hateful actions can be defeated before they multiply. Refusing to show humility and seek help will only result in further pain. In the end, no one will win.
And remember, city affairs and legal actions will come and go, but people will remain. The people you live with are more important than any of these events.
Here is my offer and recommendation, and I believe I can trust my colleagues to stand with me on this: come to me or any other pastor in our community for conflict resolution before taking any other action or involving any unnecessary people in your conflict. If you and another person are having a fundamental disagreement, ask me or another pastor to request a meeting with the both of you. Sitting down in a neutral setting with the intention of better understanding one another is not only smart, it is scriptural. As for your own decisions and direction, ask for guidance from at least one impartial, confidential source, as a sounding board, before making any major decisions, motions or speeches in City of Italy affairs.
And finally, with God’s help, become skilled at forgiveness, for your own sanity, and the sanity of our beloved community. No one needs to become more bitter and isolated who is so loved by God as each of you are.
Bro. Joseph Barrett