“Blessed Be the True Judge” [“Baruch Dayan ha’Emet”]
As a mediator, I speak with people in great distress all the time.
They feel completely wronged by the person or people usually sitting in the other conference room during the mediation.
As to them, they seek Justice with a capital “J.”
Or they feel personally responsible for “teaching the other person a lesson.”
Suddenly, in mediation, they are asked to let go, to move on, to conciliate and compromise in order to find an end to the dispute.
This is very difficult. Most disputants have invested their entire consciousness into the conflict – all of their time and energy, their strong emotions, their financial resources, and their personal reputation, self-worth and self-image.
They have built themselves up by the stories they tell of being victimized.
Now, in some fashion, they are being asked to let the other person off the hook.
Some people can do this, others cannot.
On occasion, people turn to their faith for help as they make these serious and difficult decisions.
I have heard people, in earnest, rationalize settling or not settling based upon their beliefs in God, God’s role, or their own role as an instrument of God in this dispute.
I accept this, completely, as a part of our human existence. I do not judge.
One person, I remember, brought her Bible with her and consulted it.
Another, I recall, took out time for prayer.
There have been many similar instances.
Many times, if people have decided not to settle at that moment, they will tell me that God wants them to pursue Justice or that God will provide, or similar concepts.
While respecting their view, I sometimes offer another perspective from my own background and Jewish tradition, which sometimes helps them to move forward toward peace if they so choose.
It never comes out exactly the same way, but here’s the gist:
I acknowledge that most people believe in God, as I do, and that God can be seen as a higher Judge. I suggest that it is possible to resolve the dispute and still allow for God’s own justice in time.
I reflect that in my Jewish tradition, we even have a blessing at the time of a person’s death, which acknowledges this concept:
“Blessed Be the True Judge” [“Baruch Dayan ha’Emet“].
I try to do this in the gentlest way, to empathize with and to show understanding to the disputant in this most conflicting moment.
I believe that this discussion – although out of context because there is no one’s death at issue – allows us to share in the belief that we are not alone but are in God’s presence as we work, respecting God’s role, whatever it is, as we choose between fighting and yielding.
It allows the person to accept that it is OK for God to do God’s job of dispensing Justice ultimately, if that’s what helps.
In some cases, this gives sufficient solace, comfort, or consolation, to the person that he or she can get past the reluctance to resolve the dispute.
And sometimes, the case settles.
David I. Karp is a full time mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California with a business website at http://karpmediation.com .