Open, tolerant, patient

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It’s painful to learn that even now, despite the progress we have in the area of culture, knowledge and technology, we still can witness massive cases of primitive misunderstanding and barbaric brutality in some parts of the world.

In the US, for example, this brutality is shown in the many violent protests, rioting, looting, burning, etc, because of some political and cultural issues.

We need to make a big, loud and worldwide call for openness, tolerance and patience among ourselves, starting always with prayers and sacrifice before we think of whatever solutions may be needed for this problem.

Yes, we have to learn how to coexist peacefully in spite of and even because of our unavoidable differences and conflicts. We should learn to make our differences, conflicts, mistakes, failures, offenses, etc. an occasion to love each other more and more. They are actually privileged occasions for us to broaden and extend our capacity to love, and to know the more subtle aspects and dimensions of love.

And love means we need to be open to one another, accepting each one the way he is, including his defects, weaknesses, mistakes, failures, not in the sense of approving what’s wrong with them, but rather because they are first and last our own brothers and sisters whom we need to love regardless of whatever.

Anyway, what usually also happens is that what we consider as wrong in others are actually just matters of opinion, preferences and tastes. They are not actually wrong and bad in themselves. They are just different from ours.

And so we just have to learn to be open-minded, respectful, tolerant even as we try to expound our own opinions, preferences and taste too. And even when we think that what’s wrong in others are not simply matters of opinion and taste but of things essential, we still need to be open, tolerant and patient in an appropriate manner.

In this, we have to follow closely the example of Christ himself who bore all the sins of men just to save us. He is the standard, the pattern and the power in our effort to be open, tolerant and patient with everybody else.

Of course, this is possible only when we have faith in God’s word and try to conform our ways to God’s ways. But we can start learning these indispensable traits by pursuing them in our unavoidable daily encounters and conflicts with others.

For example, when we express our political opinions or views related to anything social or cultural or even religious, we should try our best to be respectful with one another.

Even in our sharpest disagreements, we should see to it that we remain courteous, civil and friendly. We should learn how to disagree agreeably, without poisoning the air around.

To be avoided at all costs are inflammatory language, insults, ad hominems, all kinds of fallacies, sarcasm, ironies, etc. These do not advance our dialogues and exchanges.

We should see to it that we have a good grip of our emotions, our temper, our tongue, and much more, our hand. Rather, let’s follow what St. Peter once said:

“If you are a speaker, speak in words which seem to come from God…so that in everything God may receive the glory…” (1 Pt 4,10-11)*


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October 2020