Ask the HOA Expert: Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Ask the HOA Expert: Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Homeowner associations can be hotbeds of discontent, turmoil and conflict at times. Out in the big world, combatants can often successfully just avoid each other rather than deal with the problems. But within the HOA, avoidance is much more difficult and being in conflict with a neighbor can make living there very stressful. Unresolved conflicts in HOAs often prompt one or both to move to avoid further unpleasantry.

Conflict caused by concealing the truth, bending others to your will, or seeking revenge is clearly counter productive. But conflict can also be fueled by good intentions in a desire to be understood, loved, respected, or vindicated.

Conflict can arouse different kinds of responses. One response is to run, hide or deny the problem exists. Another response is to attack either verbally, physically or legally. Neither of these responses diminishes the conflict and usually has quite the opposite effect. The only real long term solutions to conflict are peacemaking responses like:

1. Overlook the Conflict. Just because we get slapped doesn=t mean we have to get even. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves only the blind and toothless.

2. Reconciliation. Making amends is not only the right thing to do, it relieves us of anxiety and hostility.

3. Mediation. Pride is a high mountain to climb. Sometimes, a little help from a friend is needed to build a bridge of reconciliation.

4. Accountability. Rather than stand idly by while a neighbor engages in self destructive or harmful behavior, intercede in a caring way.

Peacemakers do not avoid conflict but confront it directly with the goal of reconciliation. Reconciliation is not always easy to achieve because the human heart can be hard. But blessed are the peacemakers who point the way.

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