By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WHEN Christ told his disciples to be the salt and light of the earth (cfr. Mt 5,13-16), we too should feel addressed by such divine command and make ourselves good influencers in a world that is increasingly wracked by confusion and error despite the apparent lights it seems to enjoy due to the powerful developments in the sciences and technologies today.
We can readily conclude from that gospel that what Christ wants is for us to provide Christian flavor in a world that is fast evolving, as well as help in preserving the true Christian spirit in a world that is so exposed to a lot of changes, many of them with their luggage of dangers even as they also offer a lot of benefits.
We also are meant to give light to the others by giving good example and by actively doing apostolate, leading people to God along the right if prudent and tortuous and treacherous paths of this world. With rectitude of intention, we have to inspire others to follow us so that with us they can come to Christ. This is what a good influencer is.
This means that we have to see to it that we inspire others properly. And by that, we mean that the spirit we ‘breathe into’ the others by our mere presence or by our words and deeds, should be the spirit of God.
In other words, to inspire is to infuse the spirit proper to us, the spirit that gives us life and that animates our thoughts, desires, words and actions. And that spirit is ultimately nothing other than the spirit of God who is our Creator and Father, in whose image and likeness we have been created. We need to correspond to that spirit of God.
It’s, of course, good and indispensable that we enjoy our human right of free speech and expression, but we should also give due consideration to the serious duty of exercising that right with a deep sense of responsibility. We should avoid the practice of simply making off-the-cuff comments and shooting from the hip, pure gossiping, backbiting and idle talk, etc.
Especially in the world of public opinion, we should try our best that our views are properly studied and expressed. We should express our opinions, despite contrary positions from others, in a way that would at least leave people enlightened and edified. This can always be done if we truly live by our Christian standards where truth, charity, mercy, fairness, patience and courtesy are always upheld.
We may disagree with others in their views and opinions, but we should avoid being disagreeable. Even in matters of faith and belief, when we feel that a party is clearly in error, we should not feel as if we are entitled to be rude to him. In fact, he should be treated with utmost delicacy.
What is helpful in this regard is to see to it that we do everything always in the presence of God. We should be wary when we would only be guided and driven by our own emotions and passions, if not by our own biases and prejudices. It would be good to know where everybody is coming from in order to facilitate understanding and a meaningful exchange of views.
Let’s always remember that in matters of opinion, we cannot make ours the only right or fair one. We have to respect the opinions of others, even if we do not quite agree with them. In fact, the greater the variety of opinions expressed, the better for all of us, since more things would be put into consideration.