I am dedicated student of human behavior. Watching people move in and out of relationship with others fascinates me...probably too much. Perhaps in my old age, I will take up a more scholarly pursuit of this interesting subject matter, eh?
I also have the unique opportunity and privilege to belong to very tight-knit community. I realize that most do not have such a community in which they spend a large amount of their time, and thus have difficulty understanding the dynamics of a close community. I suppose the closest thing would be a family; actually, I say our community is much like a family in that we bicker, jockey for position and love each other just like in a large family. We know each other on a personal level and that enables us to feel safe with behavior we wouldn't exhibit in other environments.
Just yesterday, I was involved in a mediating a power struggle of sorts (and what's worse is that it was concerning a high-stress event on a short timeline...of course. We just don't have time for this!). I try to take the path of peace and compromise, but even I can be subject to my own motivations. Unfortunately, some do not have the compassion and understanding that is necessary to make others feel safe enough to be honest; honest about their feelings, themselves and their motivations. For some, to my dismay, the result is hurt, guilt, feeling attacked and drowning in a feeling of failure.
I am a proponent of being flexible to each situation as it comes, rather than setting rules down in stone to apply to every instance. Each circumstance has it's own set of players, emotions and motivations. To place each in the same box of rules is short-sighted and unfeeling, in my view.
Similar to the circular model above, a community could be thought of in rings; the 'core' being the center, the next ring being active members and the outer ring being simply observers. Within a close community there is always that core; those that invest the most of themselves toward to direction and life of the community. Interesting it is, that the core constitutes a rather small percentage of the community, however they feel completely confident that their way is the best for the whole, even if all the core is not in agreement. Just one dissenting voice in the core can upset the direction of the entire community, causing disruption, questioning of values and judgment. I believe the majority of struggles happen within this core, among this group of often strong-willed, highly motivated, intelligent people.
So, here's the questions I always come to; how do I maintain respect for those that advocate ideas that are not the best for the whole? How can I agree with actions that do not take the needs of the least in the community into account? How can I abide with selfish motivations that change the direction of the community?
Arrogance diminishes wisdom. I will continue to seek wisdom and understanding in these human behaviors, and that only comes from Adonai Himself. I pray that I have the strength and perseverance to continue to serve despite the voice(s) that seem to spread the poison of selfishness.