What is Jerusalem worth?

Let’s say you’re leading a group; it could be a team at work, a committee at church, or even your immediate family. You say an idea and no one likes it. Maybe it’s the typography in a work presentation. Maybe it’s the way you budgeted resources for the church. Maybe it’s the vacation in which no family members are excited to take part.

Here’s the question: Do you dig in your heels and plead your case until they see it your way, or do you immediately view things from other people’s perspectives and take a utilitarian approach?

This is where prudence–and a lot of time, experience–comes into play. Even so, I believe capitulation is oftentimes the wisest route. This isn’t always the case, but I’d wager it is most of the time. If people stopped trying to be right all the time and instead switched their goal to maximizing the greatest good, then many ills would be healed.

I love the end of the movie Kingdom of Heaven. Balian, the main character, has just given over the city to the enemy in order for the battle to end. He speaks with the leader of the other side, whose name is Saladin.

Balian: What is Jerusalem worth?

Saladin: [solemnly] Nothing. [He starts to walk away, then turns around and smiles] Everything!

Balian was willing to give up Jerusalem, the land he and other men had fought for, in order to walk away and experience peace. It’s very hard for humanity to follow suit. Once we can, things will get better.

P.S. I don’t literally mean anyone should necessarily forfeit Jerusalem right now; I’m using this excerpt from the movie to better explain my overall point. As always, thanks for reading.

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