REFLECTION: Between rigidity and flippancy PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 March 2015 13:53



In our dealings with others, especially when done in public fora, we have to avoid the extremes of rigidity and flippancy, of being a bull-headed stickler of some rules and a good-for-nothing, anything-goes fellow.

Yes, there certainly are laws and rules to follow, but let us remember that love is the ultimate law that sometimes goes beyond what our human laws and rules can indicate or how we understand and live them.

We should avoid putting laws and rules, on the one hand, and love, compassion, understanding, on the other hand, in conflict. They are meant to go together. There certainly will be tension between the two, but it’s a tension that will always challenge us to grow in our maturity, not to mention, in our sanctity.

We should never forget this distinction, perhaps too fine to be easily considered, but always worth the effort to be aware of, and of course, to conform ourselves to. Our dialogues, discussions and debates would be on the right track when this distinction is put foremost in our mind and heart.

Especially when some contentious issues are involved, as usually happens in the fields of politics, business and social life, and even in some sacred religious teaching, we need to learn how both to stick to rules and to be charitable with everyone, including those who differ from us or are clearly in error.

We have to learn how to bear with all our differences and conflicts, and to move on with life. The secret is to follow the example of Christ who revealed all that we need to know about God and about ourselves while going to the extent of assuming all our sinfulness by offering his life on the cross.

Yes, Christ was most strict and precise about what would comprise as our ideal state of life, which is what holiness is all about, but he was also most accommodating with the all the weaknesses of men.

He knew how to deal with the sinfulness of men by bearing all our sins in his supreme act of love of offering his life on the cross. “No man has greater love than he who offers his life for his friend.”

We sometimes feel that since we are tackling merely worldly issues, as in politics, we can do away with what is actually an indispensable requirement of being truthful and charitable at the same time. This is a mentality that has to change, not so much because it is against Christian teaching as it is first of all against our own common humanity.

We are all men and women who, from beginning to end, belong to the same family. We are meant to love one another, to care for one another, to be responsible for one another.

In politics, where issues are more a matter of opinion, we should refrain from dogmatizing our views and demonizing those of the others who differ from us. And even in matters of faith of morals, where dogmas are already involved, we have to learn to understand those who do not or cannot, for some reason, follow them.

In this regard, we have to be extremely patient, reflecting the very patience of Christ who goes all the way to the cross. We have to intensify our prayers and sacrifices, revving up our spiritual life by doing a lot of catechesis and apostolate.

Let’s avoid at all costs mocking and insulting those who differ from us or who are clearly in error. The fact that we are clearly right on a certain issue does not give us the right, much less, the privilege to mock and insult others. That would be pure self-righteousness.

Let’s remember that as long as we cling to Christ, as long as we believe, love and follow him, everything will always work out for the good, even if in many instances we may seem to suffer a lot of setbacks.

It would indeed be nice that as we go on with our life, with new developments good and bad, we learn how to sort out our differences calmly and charitably. This simply means that we have to become more and more like Christ, who is in fact the very pattern of our humanity, not to mention, our savior.

So let’s try to learn the truth, to follow the rules and ultimately the will of God, without getting rigid, and at the same time, let’s also try to be understanding and accommodating of everyone, without becoming flippant, frivolous, totally unhinged from reality.

Let’s follow the example of Christ!