By Fr. Roy Cimagala
“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” (Mk 3,22). Filled with anger and unbelief, the scribes of Christ’s time did not realize they were contradicting themselves. Thus, Christ immediately pointed it out.
“How can Satan drive out Satan?” Christ asked. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” (Mk 3,23-25)
Clearly, when one is driven by unbelief and hatred, his reasoning can go off the rails, and even the simplest of logic is thrown out. We need to do everything to always strengthen our belief in God, the very cause, origin and pattern of unity amid the vast and increasing diversity and variety of elements we can have in this world. Our reasoning can only be properly done when guided by faith and charity.
Nowadays, we are seeing the intriguing phenomena of asserting what is right and moral as wrong and immoral, and vice-versa. What is clearly an expression of true freedom is now called slavery, and vice-versa. What should clearly be considered as taboo is now regarded as a human right. The forms of self-contradictions go on and on.
To correct this situation or, at least, to deal properly with it, we need to take care and strengthen our faith and our charity that would unite us with God, the author of truth itself. We cannot take this duty for granted, especially now when the world is sinking in confusion and error as it distances itself farther from God.
When our reasoning is guided by faith and charity, we would even be welcoming to our unavoidable differences and conflicts, because they can occasion a greater good for us. For one, they can actually occasion genuine love and many other virtues to develop and grow. They can purify us, smoothing out the rough edges of our personality, and fine-tuning our views, opinions and preferences.
They can give rise to the development of patience and compassion, and the pursuit for the truth and justice is guaranteed to be more authentic even if it is also arduous.
They can actually expand our world of knowledge and understanding, and trigger the dynamics of a more meaningful unity among ourselves, not in spite of but rather because of our differences and conflicts. The unity we are speaking of here is not uniformity, but one that is richly nuanced and capable of accommodating everyone.
Most importantly, they can give a tremendous growth in our spiritual life, freeing us from being at the mercy of our personal, earthly and temporal conditions. They contribute greatly in our effort to make ourselves more and more like Christ who is the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity.
Our differences and conflicts are part of our human condition and are an integral element in the providence of God over all of us. We just have to learn to live with them and try our best to use them according to God’s providence. The general pattern of how to live and make use of them is given to us by Christ himself who had to go through the most extreme kind of difficulty and conflict.
There is no use attempting to quash them altogether. We may sort them out to simplify things a bit, but we should never think that there will come a time when there will be no differences and conflicts among ourselves. Instead, what we have to do is to refer them to Christ to have an idea of how to handle them properly.