Amid conflict with others where do I draw the line between compassion, recognizing and respecting their right to their views, and challenging their positions, confronting them?
The more I reflect on my question, an essential, perhaps the most important word is “I”. Desiring to live faithfully, responsibly, I am accountable and answerable for my intentions and my actions to my Creator, all creation, and all with whom I am in relation, which, for me, means everyone – however alike or dissimilar, whether at peace or in conflict. This realization (or re-realization) leads me to review and revise (for brevity’s sake) Principles of Engagement of “The Other”, which I composed following my sabbatical some years ago. These principles are the bedrock of my practice of living as I seek to do, to be the love and justice of Jesus in my relations with others.
Personal Encounter – meeting and being with another, seeking mutual understanding via sharing our individual stories that reflect our life experiences, revealing who we are and how we perceive reality.
Empathy – feeling, being in (in addition to sympathy’s feeling with) another.
Suspension of Judgment – empathy’s fruit; listening intently “outside my box” of my worldview, the framework of my history and memory, native instinct and attained insights, and established patterns of discernment.
Commonality – another fruit of empathy; seeking, listening for common elements of our human experience.
Inevitability of Conflict – as it is impossible for me to step completely outside of my self, any encounter with another always reveals differences and the potential for disagreement.
Self-Examination – being able and willing to be self-critical in the awareness that I do not possess all (or the) truth, but rather only my truth.
 During my August 2006-January 2007 sabbatical (Twenty-First Century Evangelism: Conversation, Not Conversion), I went out into a pluralistic world of competing, at times, conflicting peoples and perspectives seeking to discern whether the Christian church (a) could re-imagine or re-envision evangelism, the primary aim no longer, as traditionally understood, being the conversion of “the other” to Christianity, but rather, conversing with “the other” for purposes of mutual understanding, (b) without sacrificing the integrity of Christian identity, and (c) whilst remaining attuned to the voice, which in the midst of the conversation may say, “Please tell me more about your Jesus,” thereby signaling the possibility of a transition from an engagement in conversation to an experience of conversion.
 In this awareness, I can choose to engage conflict creatively: (a) recognizing conflict as unremarkable, indeed, normal, (b) responding with calm acceptance, and (c) using conflict as a lens to see myself more clearly, that is, through the eyes of another.