A message from Jeremy Rensford

A message from Jeremy Rensford, chair, Shepparton Ministers’ Association.

I’m one of those people who scrolls through Twitter, a most dangerous pastime! What stands out to me, other than checking in on what’s happening around our state, country and world, is just how full of blame many in our society seem to be these days. A contentious issue is often met with polar opposite opinions and I rarely see people offering a balanced opinion taking into account the extreme views of both sides. As I mentioned in my last Adviser article, it’s great to be able to agree to disagree, and let me say there’s more involved in making this happen.

Blame-shifting is fraught with relationships danger – the reason is I can’t change you and you can’t change me, without permission. Sure, we humans have enormous potential to bring about profound positive change in one another, but rarely when blaming!

COVID has brought out the worst in some of us – if only so and so did such and such then we wouldn’t be in this mess.

What’s the healthy alternative? I believe it’s asking of ourselves a very simple, yet potentially painful question – “What’s my responsibility?”. I’ve found liberation in this – because what it means is when problems and conflict inevitably comes on a good day, I can be someone who doesn’t wait for the other person to change/apologise/get better, but just do what I can do. It’s nowhere near as disappointing, divisive and devastating and funnily enough, it can help the other party in the conflict be better as well.

Jesus Christ was the master of conflict resolution and I love to read his biography (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible) to learn his skills regarding how to deal with people that see things differently to us. He introduces us to scandalous principles like forgiveness of the least deserving and not just tolerating our enemies, but loving them. Makes no sense, but it works! Here’s to a united Greater Shepparton community where each ask of themselves “What’s my responsibility”. Enjoy yours!