What re­ally mat­ters

The Freeman - - OPINION -

We can­not deny that in life, we will al­ways have to con­tend with dif­fer­ences and con­flicts. Our unity is not meant to be a uni­for­mity. And if we know how to play our game well, we would also know how to use our dif­fer­ences and con­flicts to strengthen, not weaken, our unity. Our dif­fer­ences and con­flicts can ac­tu­ally work for our unity, not di­vi­sion.

The se­cret is al­ways to live the virtue of char­ity. That is what re­ally mat­ters in life. As St. Paul said, char­ity “bears all things, be­lieves all things, hopes all things, en­dures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13,7-8) This is what brings us to heaven, de­spite our dif­fer­ences and con­flicts.

It’s a pity that in our dif­fer­ences and con­flicts we end up eaten up by anger, ha­tred, irony, sar­casm, bit­ter­ness, re­sent­ment, etc.

There are is­sues in life that can trig­ger not only dif­fer­ent views, but also con­flict­ing po­si­tions. And it is okay to dis­agree with each other, re­gard­ing our dif­fer­ences as ir­rec­on­cil­able. We are not ex­pected to agree with each other on ev­ery­thing. But what is not okay is when we fall out of love for each other.

This does not mean that there is no right and wrong in our dif­fer­ent and con­flict­ing views, or that all po­si­tions hold the same value. Be­sides, most times we re­ally would not know who or what is right and wrong, bet­ter or worse, in a par­tic­u­lar is­sue. What­ever the case, we should try our best not to fail to live in char­ity among our­selves.

Nowa­days, there are hot, con­tro­ver­sial, and di­vi­sive is­sues. They usu­ally are po­lit­i­cal in na­ture, or they can be so­cial as in the case of gen­der, or cul­tural, as in the case of the dif­fer­ence be­tween na­tion­al­ism and pa­tri­o­tism.

They can be mat­ters of science, as in the ques­tion of global warm­ing and cli­mate change. They can even be is­sues about faith and re­li­gion.

Each one of us has the right to ex­press his view as force­fully as pos­si­ble. It is just hoped that the force­ful­ness does not un­der­mine the virtue of char­ity. We should learn how to be force­ful and char­i­ta­ble at the same time in our dis­cus­sions of is­sues. This is pos­si­ble and it is im­per­a­tive that we man­age to learn to blend them.

We need to con­tin­u­ally ask and check our­selves if in­deed char­ity is al­ways lived when we hap­pen to go through our dif­fer­ences and con­flicts. In fact, the ideal is that the more dif­fer­ent and con­flictive we are among our­selves in our views and po­si­tions, the more char­i­ta­ble we ought to be with each other. Our dif­fer­ences and con­flicts can oc­ca­sion greater char­ity. They are not meant to be de­stroy­ers of char­ity.

We have to learn how to hold our horses when we feel pro­voked. Of course, we should try our best that in de­fend­ing our re­spec­tive po­si­tions, we avoid pro­vok­ing oth­ers. This means that we have to try our best to know the other par­ties as per­son­ally as pos­si­ble, so we would have an idea of how they would re­act to our in­ter­ven­tions.

We have to be quick to un­der­stand oth­ers, to of­fer for­give­ness when they com­mit a mis­take, or may hap­pen to of­fend us. We should also be quick to ask for for­give­ness when we are the ones who com­mit a mis­take. And even in our most bit­ter con­flicts, we should try to avoid in­ap­pro­pri­ate words.

In the end, we have to re­al­ize that to be able to be char­i­ta­ble all the time, we need to be vi­tally united with God who is love him­self, the source, pat­tern, and power of char­ity.

‘The more dif­fer­ent and Con­flICtIvE wE ArE AmonG our­selves in our views and po­si­tions, the more char­i­ta­ble we

ought to be with each other.’

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