This month's blog has been written by Andy Haines 

" Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

  Ephesians 4:32


Recently, I was out on my bike, on a country lane, going down hill. A small van came up behind me and for some time couldn't get past, due to oncoming cars and just being patient and safe. Eventually the van passed, I waved, he waved – all was good.


At the bottom of the hill is an ”S” bend: right, then left.  As I arrived at the second bend the van was pinned on the corner trying to squeeze past an HGV and long trailer, “bridged” on the bend, needing a large turning circle.


The HGV driver had his window open, shouting, every other word an expletive, as he inched forward up the embankment to get past. The van had nowhere to go. It was very much David and Goliath and Goliath clearly thought he was the aggrieved party.


With just about enough “respect” the incident resolved itself. But how quickly these types of situation becomes intractable and it occurred to me that this was not dissimilar to the challenge in the war in Ukraine.


The truth is that no matter the rights and wrongs of the situation, at a certain point the two parties have to listen, understand each other better and show some mutual respect, even if they don't like each other. Without this the route to “Armageddon” is all too short.


The situation on the S-bend could have been more simply resolved with some understanding. Recent changes to the Highway Code make it clear that in all situations there is a particular responsibility placed on the larger vehicle to preserve the safety of the smaller. And this is the very lesson that Jesus teaches us, in parables such as the Good Samaritan, and the Sermon on the mount; to love one another, love our neighbour as equals and without domination.  We are not obliged to like them, but show them kindness, tolerance, respect and mercy.


Without this it is hard to see how the situation in Ukraine can improve. And human nature being what it is, of course we need rules and some order of law to help us understand those boundaries.  So, it will be no surprise to know that when I got to the junction at the end of the road I observed a maximum 3 ton limit on the road sign. Just like Mr Putin in Ukraine, the HGV should not have been there! And had our expletive laden friend observed the law, the incident would not have occurred.  But it did… as did the invasion of Ukraine.


Let us hope and pray that in all situations, particularly in the war in Ukraine that we can all find room to apply the teachings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and in particular, that hostilities in Ukraine will soon end.