My boss was fuming. Not at me personally, but at my department and in particular at one of my staff members who had made a serious error of judgement.
It was my boss’s right to direct his anger at me as I was responsible for the overall running of the department.
I felt terrible that I had let my boss down. He was someone whom I truly respected.
And I knew it was my job to see that this issue was dealt to and prevented from happening again, that afternoon.
I wondered if the good relationship I had built up with my boss over a decade would ever be the same.
The next day and after a sleepless night I was about to find out.
Early the next morning I met my boss unexpectantly in the lift. He smiled and wished me a good day.
It was as if nothing had happened. The problem that occurred yesterday was forgotten and did not define our today or tomorrow.
Perhaps the reputation I had built up over the past ten years had protected me?
I was convicted but not condemned. I was free to move on. This was
My protestant family hail from Northern Ireland and we have been at war with the Catholics. One of my family members was shot dead in cold blood by the IRA and this festered within my family for many years.
He was a University lecturer. It was believed the Catholics wanted to take control of the places of learning and replacing him with a Catholic lecturer fulfilled their objectives.
But, after decades of fighting and many killings, one act of grace changed everything.
In 1987 an IRA bomb went off in a small town west of Belfast amongst a group of protestants who had gathered to honour the war dead on veterans day.
Eleven people died and sixty three were wounded. What made this act of terrorism stand out from so many others was the response of one of the wounded, Gordon Wilson, a devout Methodist.
The bomb buried Wilson and his twenty year old daughter under five feet of concrete and rubble.
“Daddy I love you very much” were the last words Marie spoke, grasping her father’s hand as they waited for the rescuers.
She suffered severe spinal and brain injuries and died a few hours later in the hospital.
A newspaper later proclaimed – “No one remembers what the politicians had to say at the time.
No one who heard Gordon Wilson will ever forget what he confessed…. His grace towered over the miserable justifications of the bombers”.
Speaking from his hospital bed, Wilson said:
“ I have lost my daughter, but I bear no grudge. BITTER talk is not going to bring Marie Wilson back to life. I shall pray, tonight and every night that God will forgive them”.
His daughters last words were words of love and Gordon Wilson was determined to live out his life on that plane of love.
“The World wept”, said one report as Wilson gave a similar interview on BBC radio that week.
A world of increasing division
Today, we live in a world displaying little grace.
A world that is becoming increasingly divided and people are being pigeon holed into groups of like-minded people.
Which group do you belong to?
Right wing or left wing? In favour of abortion or pro-life? For gender fluidity or are you homophobic? Do you believe ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ‘All Lives Matter’?
Your choice determines the box you are put into.
Unfortunately within this heavy labelling there is a complete lack of grace. Everything is black or white when in reality there are various shades of grey.
There is little room for listening, compassion, understanding and love.
How long must it go on like this?
As Christians, how can we melt the ice of division?
I believe we need to be anchored in a different world. One full of compassion, understanding and grace.
The Devil wants to sow division and confusion. We are called to be peace-makers.
In Matthew 8: 23-27 Jesus is sitting in a boat with his disciples sleeping when a furious storm came up on the lake. The disciples were afraid they were going to drown but Jesus rebuked the winds and waves, and it was completely calm.
Jesus was able to calm the storm because the peace ‘within him’ was greater than the storms ‘around him’.
May we as Christians know the peace and grace of God so deeply that we are able to calm the storms around us and bring peace and hope to a troubled world.
It could be quite simple. When someone is expressing their views to us, we could just listen more, talk less, build empathy and express love in a way that does not compromise our beliefs.
Wayne Graham worked in the media for more than 30 years before leaving to follow a call to set up The Daily Encourager, a values based media showcasing the best of New Zealand society. He has a passion for Jesus, enjoys walking, ball sports, the arts and song writing.